Efforts to regulate booms that rattle neighbors north of E Reno Avenue advanced Tuesday after the Oklahoma City Council heard from scrap-yard representatives who asked for an opportunity to collaborate on the rules.
The council took comments at a public hearing on a fire code update.
The proposed rules would extend Oklahoma City's authority to regulate car crushing and metal processing operations that produce random, loud explosions. Fire officials believe the car-crushing operations create dust that can explode.
David Pardue, an attorney for Derichebourg metal recycling, argued for changes in proposals regarding reporting of explosions, operating hours and appeals when citations are issued.
Derichebourg has invested $12 million to $15 million in its plant over the past seven years, and built a wall out of shipping containers to further separate it from neighbors, Pardue said.
The company destroys seized guns for federal and local law enforcement agencies, including Oklahoma City, he said.
Staci Minchen, manager of finance and corporate affairs for Standard Iron & Metal, said her company has been in the same location in the 1500 block of E Reno for 60 years.
Metal recycling nationally accounts for 460,000 jobs and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Minchen said.
Denyvetta Davis, president of the JFK Neighborhood Association, told the council that residents endure acrid smoke, noise and damage to homes from explosions coming from metal-recycling yards.
“Our quality of life has to improve,” she said.
Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid said he thought representatives of the recycling businesses were “minimizing” the effects of the explosions.
“All you have to do is walk through JFK and talk to the residents and you get all the reports you need,” Shadid said.
Shadid said he thought the proposed rules were not stringent enough.
Ward 7 Councilman John Pettis related his frustration over attempts to make contact with managers at the recycling yards and said, “I'm glad we finally got your attention.”
Under the proposed rules, car-crushing operations would be required to get a permit and submit to annual inspections.
The proposal advanced to the council's Feb. 25 meeting, when a final vote is set.