Idaho officials concerned about plant odors

BURLEY, Idaho — The Burley City Council in south-central Idaho has approved sending a letter to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality detailing its concerns about foul emissions from a vegetable-dehydration plant.

The council on Wednesday also went into closed session to consider taking legal action against Ida Pro, the Times-News reported. But a city official said councilors made no decisions at the meeting.

Residents said emissions from the plant in the city’s industrial park make them keep their windows closed.

“We are basically a hostage in our own home because of the smell,” resident Jeff Rasmussen said. “It burns your throat and eyes.”

Keith Couch said his grandchildren can’t visit at his house because the emissions burn their eyes. He and other neighbors might file a lawsuit, he said.

“It stifles you,” Couch said of the smell.

Gale Garrett said that relatives coming to the area from out of town because of a death in the family preferred to stay at hotels rather than his home because of the smell. “This is very upsetting to me and my family,” Garrett said.

Ida Pro owner Jeremy Anderson said the company has already spent $500,000 to eliminate odors.

“We are a young company, and that was all cash investment with no return on the money,” he said. The company has about 30 workers.

It cost $250,000 for a system to neutralize odor from one of two stacks, the one with the greatest air flow, Anderson said.

The company has ordered another piece of equipment costing $250,000 that will remove 99.7 percent of the particulates causing odors, Anderson said. But it won’t be installed until July 1.

“We feel that adding this to our system will bring down the odor until it’s not noticeable,” he said.

Anderson said he has concerns the company is being blamed for any bad smell.

He noted that employees go into the neighborhood to record odors with a special device, and the company monitors prevailing winds.

“We feel like we’re being held to a standard that no one could meet,” Anderson said. “We feel like we’re going the extra mile.”

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