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Newport scrap metal plant hopes sound barrier reduces noise disturbing neighbors

River Metals Recycling
Posted at 1:14 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 17:16:26-04

NEWPORT, Ky. — A source of what neighbors have described as disruptive noise pollution is taking steps to quiet its operations along the Licking River banks, city officials announced Tuesday.

River Metals Recycling will construct a sound barrier to reduce the noise coming from its scrap metal facility by up to 80%, said Newport's city manager, Tom Fromme, in a news release.

"River Metals has been working with the city on various operational issues," Fromme said. "They have expressed a sincere desire to be a valuable part of our community for many decades to come. The sound barrier development indicates their commitment to work with both the city and our residents."

The sound barrier — which will stand 44 feet at its tallest — was already under construction as of Tuesday, at the plant's expense, and officials expect its construction to be complete "in the coming months."

"This is the best resolution that we came up with," said River Metals general manager, Neal Courladot. "A good way to think of it is like an envelope — if you have an envelope and you stuff it."

Fromme told WCPO Tuesday he's encouraged by the move, and by the plant's willingness to cover the costs.

"I think it's indicative of their desire to work with the city and with the residents," he said. "I think they realize their operation does create some conflict and some grief, for lack of a better word."

Earlier this year, the Newport City Commission was considering possible legislation that would require all businesses like RMR within city limits to self-monitor and report loud events, including explosions. Failure to do so under the ordinance would result in a fine.

The legislation came after repeated and mounting complaints by nearby residents that equipment used at the plant was resulting in loud explosions and causing structural damage to some homes.