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Newport Files Charges Against Recycling Plant Over Alleged Noise Violations

The City of Newport filed multiple charges against River Metals Recycling over allegations that the company violated the city's noise ordinance.

River Metals was the target of numerous residential complaints for loud noises and explosions on its site along the Licking River.

The issue was addressed late last summer when the city and company announced what appeared to be an attempt at a resolution. In August, River Metals agreed to install a custom sound barrier to reduce noise that is part of its daily operations. The company said that it would pay for the installation.

An announcement at the time said that the barrier is designed to reduce noise from the recycling facility by up to 85 percent, a number based upon pre-installation modeling.

But more complaints have ensued and last week the city filed its charges.

"The City of Newport has received numerous complaints regarding explosions that occur at River Metals Recycling," a statement from the city said Wednesday. "The city and River Metals had been working toward a mitigation of this situation in order to improve the quality of life for affected residents. The city has been investigating this situation, which included the use of sound monitoring near the site and at or near properties that have been affected by these explosions.  

"The investigation has found that explosions at the River Metals violated Newport's zoning ordinance within the last 30 days, resulting in charges being filed against the company."

The city said that it would have no additional comment at this time. 

In August, the company celebrated the agreement and noise mitigation efforts.
 
“Being a good corporate citizen and responsible neighbor has been essential to how River Metals Recycling has done business in Newport for decades," said Neal Coulardot, general manager of River Metals Recycling, in August. "We share the commitment of the mayor and the rest of our city’s leadership, on behalf of its residents, to ensure that Newport remains a great place to live, work and play. We appreciate the opportunity to work with Newport’s leaders to develop and implement this innovative solution.” 
 
This week, Coulardot told WCPO that three of the alleged violations happened prior to the installation of the new sound barrier, in January, February, and March of last year. The most recent one, according to the TV station, was in December.
 
“We worked closely last year with the Mayor, Board of Commissioners and City Administration to reduce the noise impact of our operations and infrequent combustion events,” Coulardot told WCPO. “In September 2021, we completed the construction and installation of a state-of-the-art sound barrier, in consultation with nationally recognized acoustic engineering experts, at a cost of over $300,000. The new sound barrier has been effective in significantly reducing noise from the infrequent combustion events at our Newport facility.”
 
This story may be updated.
 
-Staff report