Odors from plant annoying Tualatin residents
TUALATIN — People who live and work near a composting facility in the Portland suburb of Tualatin want the state Department of Environmental Quality to reduce odors drifting from the plant and make sure it doesn't become a worse nuisance.
The DEQ held a public hearing this week on a draft composting permit for Grimm's Fuel Company, The Oregonian reported.
Grimm's has been composting mostly yard debris and clippings since 1980. Residents at the hearing were fearful that the pending permit would eventually allow the facility to compost meat, dairy products and certain dead animals.
They pointed to the controversial Nature's Needs plant in North Plains, where more than a thousand odor complaints led Washington County commissioners to remove commercial food waste from the site.
Jeff Grimm, the general manager, said his facility was only interested in composting residential food waste, if a curbside collection program started nearby. Lawrence Brown, a DEQ official in charge of writing Grimm's Fuel permit, said he would likely clarify that the company is only seeking to compost residential food waste in the permit.
Washington County, however, has considered launching a pilot commercial food waste compost collection program in the Tigard, Tualatin and King City area. And people at the hearing complained that the existing smell, without residential food waste, forces them to stay inside with windows shut.
“Our neighborhood is full of young children who are already affected by the current odor levels,” said Emily Gonzalez, who lives in a nearby subdivision. “Some days are so bad my children can't play outside. My three and six year olds complain it smells like dog poop.”
Grimm's Fuel had its defenders. Stephen Titus of Tualatin said it was “irresponsible” to cast the situation as the same in North Plains.
“They seem like honest people trying to provide a service that has been mandated by Oregonians in an ever increasingly regulated environment,” he said.
DEQ is accepting written comment until Nov. 6, and the agency expects to respond to comments and issue a decision in December.
Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com