TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Nearly four months after being ordered to cease operations, a long-embattled crematorium in the Northtowns is open once again.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation gave Amigone Funeral Home's Sheridan Park Crematory in the Town of Tonawanda a consent order to resume its operations Monday.
The agency shut down the facility in September after thick, black smoke was seen coming from the building, violating its air permit.
Under the DEC consent order with Amigone, the crematory installed new mechanics and software designed to reduce pressure inside its exhaust stack. Officials say that may help prevent and mitigate the discharge of smoke from the crematorium.
Amigone also installed a monitor to check the temperature inside the stack and revised its operating procedures to allow the manufacturer to shut down the plant in an emergency.
The facility is set to test the stack next week and send emissions samples to the DEC for analysis.
Some state leaders, like newly-elected State Senator Sean Ryan, are skeptical the consent order will keep the surrounding area safe though.
“While the fine and new consent decree from the DEC are a good first step, I'm not convinced that Amigone's crematory should be able to continue to operate, with the health and safety of Tonawanda residents at risk,” Ryan said in a press statement. “We have been through this before, and the public has a right to be highly skeptical of what's happening at Amigone. I have questions, and the public has questions about the health impact on surrounding neighborhoods."
Ryan went on to call on the DEC to organize a virtual public forum so neighbors can ask Amigone questions about how it plans to keep them safe.
The facility has faced several issues over the last decade. It was shut down in 2012 for state permit violations and installed new pollution controls, then reopened in 2018.