A Sun Staff Report

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) on Wednesday announced a negotiated settlement and penalty with Ayer-based Nasoya Foods, USA to address odor issues from the tofu manufacturing facility that have been impacting nearby residents for months. Nasoya Foods, USA has acknowledged that hydrogen sulfide, a byproduct of tofu production, is the source of intense odor being emitted from the facility.

As part of the settlement, Nasoya will pay a $27,360 penalty to the commonwealth for violating MassDEP Air Quality regulations and will make improvements to the air pollution control equipment within the next two weeks.

The facility will also establish a third-party odor response protocol that includes a hotline number for residents to call an independent consultant, who will immediately investigate the complaint and prepare a report.

“This consent order requires immediate improvements to mitigate the odors while the company develops a plan for permanent upgrades,” said Mary Jude Pigsley, director of MassDEP’s Central Regional Office in Worcester. “Creating odor conditions that prevent residents from enjoying their own property is simply unacceptable.”

The consent order follows a detailed facility inspection by the company’s engineers, as well as MassDEP technical staff last week, to identify specific improvements to mitigate the hydrogen sulfide odor. The order requires that specific equipment upgrades at the facility be completed within two weeks and requires the company to deliver a long-term plan and schedule for final improvements by the end of the month.

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

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