Neighbors in Watervliet upset over compost project in the city

WATERVLIET, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It’s the environmentally friendly thing to do but not very neighborly.

A business straddling Watervliet and Colonie is causing a stink for those who live near it. The facility deals in composting and some are saying the smells it gives off are just too much.

“The smell is terrible,” Watervliet resident Phyllis Davis said. “Smells like dog poop. It’s disgusting. Everyone here has gone to meetings and complained.”

Residents in Watervliet are complaining about composting yard waste at 191 Watervliet Shaker Rd. at a facility run by GreenRenewable Inc. The company also has another facility that produces mulch.

Residents say that facility also produces a bad smell and happens to border Watervliet.

“We would like to see the facility shut down,” Watervliet Town Manager Mark Gleason said.

But Colonie Public Works Commissioner Jack Cunningham said the company has every right to be located on that land, which is specifically zoned for that type of industrial use by Colonie.

“We sympathize with what anyone that’s experiencing negative effects of the operation there,” he said. “The town has to allow certain operations within a certain area.”

Even though summer is coming, Cunningham said there may be some relief.

“He’s maxed out and can’t take anymore yard waste into that location,” he said.

Residents are signing petitions and filing complaints with the Department of Environmental Conservation, but the facility is already up and running after going through all the proper channels.

“I would hate to feel we purchased something that has no value,” resident Katie Van Denburgh said.

Town leaders said it comes down to the DEC and the owners working on ways to cut down on smells that can only be best described by the people who live near it.

“Smells like the worst vomit you could ever smell,” Van Denburgh said.

GreenRenewable, Inc. President Sean Gallivan sent the following statement to NEWS10:

“GreenRenewable Inc. has been operating the New York State registered leaf and limb repurposing center at 191 Watervilet Shaker Road in Colonie since 2014. The property is zoned heavy industrial. Our center is fully compliant with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Town of Colonie’s strict guidelines that govern the process of recycling leaf and limb materials. GreenRenewable is providing a needed service to assist the local community in its green and sustainable efforts to recycle and reuse leaf and limb materials as required by law.

GreenRenewable developed through strict local and state guidelines what once was vacant land since 1989 and transformed it into a business that adheres to local zoning requirements. We invested in the clean-up of the site which included the repurposing of approximately 100,000 tons of illegally dumped asphalt, concrete and dirt. Our presence at the site has driven out the reported criminal activity.

We are aware of the concerns of some residents and we strive to be a good neighbor and community partner.”

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