Thursday, March 22, 2012

Ministry says Monday’s smells weren’t from compost plant

GUELPH — The municipal organics plant on the city’s south-east side has been cleared as the source of two odour complaints, city councillor Ian Findlay has announced. “In my mind, I think that ends it,” Findlay said Wednesday. The provincial Ministry of the Environment was informed by two residents near the Dunlop Drive composting plant Monday morning of odour problems. It launched an investigation along with municipal solid waste staff. They concluded, as Findlay reported on his blog, that data on prevailing winds that morning indicated the air from the plant was moving away from the residents, not toward them. It suggested the plant wasn’t the source. Findlay said at this time of year it wouldn’t be improbable to have various unknown scents in the air, such as fertilizers on nearby agricultural fields. He was unaware of other public complaints in recent months, he added. The facility temporarily stopped accepting new waste last November after about 10 pungent odour complaints were lodged by neighbours. The city has monitored operations to reduce the risk of stenches emanating from there. “I’m always afraid of those odours popping up. I don’t think they can make it odour-free,” vocal plant critic Ken Spira said Wednesday. He’s president of the community action group Guelph Waste Management Coalition. Bob Crashley, who lives on Glenholm Drive near the plant, said Wednesday there was indeed an odour in the air Monday but hard to source. “I could smell something in the air, but I wouldn’t attribute it to the plant,” Crashley said, concluding it had more of a chemical smell than one of rotting waste. One of the MOE complainants, in a report, described it as a compost or gas odour detectable shortly before 9 a.m. Monday on Glenholm. A second at that time and place compared it as a garbage-like smell.

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