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Supervisors hear odor complaints

By Staff | Jun 16, 2010

The Emmet County Board of Supervisors Tuesday received a complaint from south Estherville residents about odors coming from the Protein Solutions plant south of Estherville.

Roy and Rose Gage, who live on South 15th Street, and Bill Fettes, who lives west of Valley Contracting, said the plant frequently emits strong odors which they said lowers property values and the quality of life in the area.

“You get the cooking smell and it lingers there all day,” Roy Gage said. “They’re just directly south of us.”

Gage said strong odors are present about 10 days out of every month.

Gage said he had spoken with the manager of Protein Solutions as well as the owner, Doug Skinner.

“He (Skinner) pledged that he would keep it from going any further,” Gage said.

Gage pointed to a resolution approving a conditional use permit for Iowa {Protein solutions, LLC, which said, “It is believed that the presence of this operation will not negatively impact the character of the property or property values in the area.” Gage said the only way the Emmet County Board of Adjustment could have approved the conditional use permit was if it thought the plant would be odor free.

While he acknowledged the positive impact of the rendering plant, Gage said it created odor problems for southside residents.

“I do think we do need to have Doug Hansen (county attorney) take a look at it,” said Gage, noting that Protein Solutions was not abiding by the conditions of its conditional use permit – that the plant would not negatively impact property in the area.

Gage also asked if people could call the county engineer’s office at 362-4846 if they have odor complaints.

“When they (Protein Solutions) sold us a rendering plant, they sold it as a no-stink plant,” Gage said.

“I have absolutely no problem doing this,” said supervisor Jim Jenson in response to Gage’s two requests, that the board ask that Hansen look into the matter and that the county keep a call log in the engineer’s office. Jenson also acknowledged that Protein Solutions was working with engineers to control air flow and ventilation. Jenson said the city sewage treatment plant had “more odors just as often.”

“Very few days do I ever smell the city sewage,” said Fettes. He said the only time he smelled sewage was when it was spread on farmers’ fields. “The city sewage plant does not stink.”

However, that was not the case with the rendering plant, said Fettes.

“The smell from the rendering plant is very different,” Fettes said, noting that last summer when he was trying to mow his lawn with an east wind he had to go inside his house.

“They did put a second scrubber in in July and there was a big improvement,” Fettes said, adding, “If they’re having troubles, they need to shut down the operation.”

“AS to date, I have seen no covers on any of the trucks,” said Fettes, adding that he had seen animal heads in trucks. He said rendering trucks also park along the highway.

“I don’t think they’ve ever scrubbed a truck since they’ve been there,” Fettes said.