EDMONTON – Nothing has been done yet to stop the odor neighboring residents say are coming from AgRenew, an animal rendering plant, along Greensburg Road in Metcalfe County.
The stench has been discussed at least twice during Metcalfe County Fiscal Court meetings.
The last time on July 9 and since that fiscal court meeting, Magistrate Ronnie Miller has spoken with the owner of the animal rendering plant.
“He's pretty much in complete denial that it even smells. I tried to tell him that it does. He said he has never smelled it,” Miller said.
Miller has not spoken to anyone with the company this week.
“I haven't had any reports of any odor, either,” he said.
Miller is not sure if the animal rendering plant is in operation this week.
“They probably are not in operation if it's not smelling,” he said. “They told us on May 14 they were going to take care of the problem, but they haven't done anything.”
David Dixon, an engineer with Texpac Protein Products, spoke to the fiscal court at its May 14 meeting and said he has worked during his 22-year career in the rendering industry to address the problem at multiple facilities, including shutting one down.
He told the fiscal court then that he was working with AgRenew to bring in new technology to help with the processing but also redirect its business to the use of fresh meat that is cooled as opposed to using animal carcasses.
Matt Gibson, an AgRenew co-owner, was also at the May 14 fiscal court meeting and said when the plant was built two years ago his company was a supplier of raw material for it. The previous owners were having trouble keeping the equipment running and keeping the material processed.
He also told the fiscal court at that time that his company got involved with the animal rendering plant because they thought things could be done better and wouldn't present a problem for the community.
Shannon Fields lives less than a half mile from the animal rendering facility. She was at the May 14 fiscal court meeting.
“They acted like when they got new equipment everything was going to be better,” she said, but added nothing has changed.
Fields has not spoken to the owners of the company. Instead, she has been sharing her concerns with Miller, who is her magistrate.
Last week, Fields said she could still smell the odor on occasion.
“It depends on how the wind blows for me, but like on these hot, humid days …, like last night (July 8) I sat out on my porch and you smelled it,” she said.
Fields is hoping something can be done to stop the odor and everyone can go on their merry way, and the animal rendering plant can stay open.
“But if they can't accommodate us then what else is there to do? I hate for them to have to shut the doors, but at the same time I lived there before that came,” she said. “If I had known this was coming, I would have tried to help prevent this.”
Residents in the area where the animal rendering plant is located are planning to get together to talk about their options, Miller said.
He added that he would love for Gibson and Dixon to come to a future meeting of the fiscal court and talk about the issue again.
The Glasgow Daily Times attempted to reach Gibson and Dixon prior to deadline but phone calls to them were not returned.