The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

June 10, 2009

Crematorium permit approved

It appears the third try was the charm for Melton Mortuary in Beckley.

The state Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Air Quality Tuesday approved Melton’s application to construct a crematory.

Melton’s first application was denied in early 2008 when the DAQ determined particulate matter emissions as proposed in the application would exceed allowable limits.

Owner H.E. Melton III resubmitted the application in May 2008, but it was again denied in July because the DAQ deemed the emissions would cause or contribute to a violation of the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for particulate matter.

Melton appealed the denial, and following a hearing on Jan. 20, the West Virginia Air Quality Board ordered the DAQ to again review the application.

In April, the DAQ issued a notice of intent to approve the application after placing some restrictions on when and how the incinerators are used.

In an evaluation dated April 3, DEP senior engineer Ed Andrews wrote that he had visited the new structure, adjacent to Melton’s funeral home on Sunset Avenue.

Andrews stated the proposed location for the animal and human crematories was “less than desirable” since the building is located on a hill, within 300 feet of several commercial businesses and residences.

Although Andrews said the DAQ was initially concerned the facility would operate in violation of national air standards, he continued that those concerns were alleviated by Melton’s suggested restriction of operating only one crematory at a time and operating each crematory no more than 2,080 hours per year.

With that stipulation and a restriction ordering the incinerators to operate only between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., and not at all on weekends during the summer months, Edwards recommended the permit be granted.

Those residing near the site, however, remained opposed to the crematorium, voicing their concerns at a May 5 hearing and through public comments submitted to the DAQ.

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