Once again Plymouth residents say they’ve had enough of the terrible smell that sometimes comes from a local sewage processing plant.
“You can’t put your clothes out on the clothes line because your clothes will smell like the sewer,” says resident Linda Seavey.
They thought the odor problems from Soil Prep. Inc. would soon be over after a regulatory bill passed the legislature last year. But not much has changed.
“What were fighting about now is what is the proper standard for these odors,” says Republican State Rep. Ken Fredette.
Last year The Department of Environmental Protection increased the originally proposed threshold for nuisance odors… Soil Prep Inc facility manager John Barry told us off camera the scale needs to be adjusted and he’d like to see the same regulations on other odor-causing industries.
A DEP spokesperson says the have a multi-faceted approach to the smelly problem.
“An odor that would constitute a nuisance would be an odor that would be at a particular concentration on the scale for a particular amount of time and at a particular frequency,” explained Paula Clark, Division Director, Solid Waste.
The frustrating part of the situation for all parties is that the weather is one of the biggest factors in how far and how strong the smell is. On a rainy or windy day, the smell is the worst.
“The days that it smells my students get sick, they cry, they whine, they plead for me not to bring them out,” said Paula Leblanc, a local daycare owner.
Residents claim they’ve heard too many excuses.
“The manager of the facility explained in great detail that they had plans in the works, a process basically that we were told would basically eliminate the odor problem,” said Mike Seavey.
The plant manager did tell us they began work on a several million dollar upgrade, but the bill and its regulations scared off investors and they couldn’t afford it.
“There needs to be a proper balance between people’s property rights in their homes and businesses,” said Fredette.
Soil Prep. Inc processes waste and sells it primarily to dairy farmers. They’re the only plant in the state doing exactly that. 25 people work there.
Residents of Plymouth have collected hundreds of signatures to appeal last year’s bill and increase regulation. Meanwhile, the plant manager says he’s just doing his job and providing jobs for the community. The DEP says they are frequently assessing the situation.