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EPA is working to stop the smell in Attica

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Rochester: EPA is working to stop the smell in Attica
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The Environmental Protection Agency has stepped in to address a stench that has plagued the small village of Attica for at least a year now. As YNN's Kate McGowan reports, the EPA has ordered the demolition of a massive pile of burning recyclables that is causing problems within the community.

ATTICA, N.Y. -- A massive mound of recyclable material towers into the sky in the village of Attica, and it is releasing a stench that residents said smells like rotting garbage. The pile sits on the back lots of Hillcrest Industries, and is made up glass, plastic, and food waste.

The EPA said fire is burning deep inside the pile. For close to a year, residents have been fighting to have the pile removed, and on Saturday, demolition finally began.

"What we're doing now, is we have excavators that are reaching into the pile, bringing the hot material out, extinguishing it, and it will be moved to other parts of the facility, and staged in smaller piles," explained Jeff Bechtel, EPA On Scene Coordinator.

The EPA said more than 30 workers are helping in the clean up process, including those from the County and State Health Departments. Though the EPA is overseeing the project, the demolition firm, Wargo Enterprises, based out of Akron, is spearheading it.

"The process is not new, this is typical in a large volume fire load to take it apart and quench the hot spots, and separate and sort," said David Bissonette, Wargo Enterprises.

Over the next week, the 74,000 tons of material will be broken down, and spread across the back lot of Hillcrest. Officials said safety measures must be taken to ensure that the burning material doesn't get out of hand.

The EPA said recent testing shows that the burning pile is emitting several chemicals, but they said the air in Attica is safe. For those who live just feet away, they said they can only hope this is a means to an end.

"If we have to suffer for a couple of weeks to get it to go away for good, I guess it's worth it," said a neighbor.

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