Rothsay plant trying to find proper chemical balance to reduce odours

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Introduction of chicken feathers responsible for ‘disgusting' stench at Lower Truro facility

A spokesman for the Rothsay rendering plant in Lower Truro said efforts are underway to try to correct an increase in nauseating smells coming from the site. HARRY SULLIVAN - TRURO DAILY NEWS

LOWER TRURO - Efforts are underway to reduce an increase in sickening odours emanating from the Rothsay rendering plant, a company official says.

"We're in the process of optimizing our equipment," said spokesman Dave Bauer from Maple Leaf's head office in Ontario.

Residents have been complaining about an increase in nauseating odours in recent months, including through e-mails and letters to the editor at the Truro Daily News.

Bauer acknowledged that the smell from the plant has increased after it introduced chicken feathers into its cooking process last summer.

"We're trying to find the optimal solution. We think we've got it," he said. "We just have to test a couple of things and meet these concerns in the short term ...

"It's essentially making sure that we have the right chemical solution and balance in place within the scrubber system to destroy the odours."

Depending on the material that's being "recycled" and the chemical solution in the scrubber, Bauer said,the science behind it always has to be adjusted because small fluctuations in production can affect odour levels.

"So it is something that always has to be optimized and fine-tuned."

Jay Brenton, regional director for the Department of Environment, said inspectors have been monitoring activity at the plant and he is confident that all regulations are being met.

"What they are doing in regard to the new process (regarding the chicken feathers), they put in a new cooker system and a lot of the work has been going on about tying that new cooker system into the scrubber system," he said.

"Apparently, they have to balance three scrubbers with whatever chemicals they use for cleaning the air that goes through them. And I think there's some piping modifications, like duct work and things of this nature they are doing there to optimize the scrubbers as well."

Bauer said he could not offer a time frame for when the smell might be reduced, but the company is aware of the impact it is having on the neighbouring community.

"We hear the concerns. We're putting in place an action plan we hope to enact quickly in the short term to further reduce the odours," he said. "We're hopeful within the next short while, I can't give the exact time, but what I can say is we're working on it and we're taking it very seriously."

That can't come soon enough for Truro Bible Hill MLA Lenore Zann. Although the Lower Truro plant is located in Colchester County and is not within her constituency, Zann said both she and her constituents are being adversely affected by the strong smell being produced.

"It's pretty disgusting, isn't it?" she said.

"I've been thinking that this has been a problem for some time now. I mean I noticed it myself and it has definitely affected me. And I just think it's quite an intolerable situation and so I would really appreciate the sooner that the company can find the right balance, I think it's a serious concern."

Although Zann said the odour may not be harmful from a medical perspective, "per se," it nonetheless does have health consequences.

"I think that when most of us here who have felt it and smelled it, it makes us want to be sick to our stomach, which has happened to me on numerous occasions. That's not a healthy situation to be living in, so I think it would be good stewardship for the company to help us out and alleviate the smell as soon as possible," she said.

"Meanwhile, I think it is a very difficult situation for those of us who are being directly affected."



Organizations: Truro Daily News, Department of Environment

Geographic location: Rothsay, Lower Truro, Maple Leaf Ontario Colchester County

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Recent comments

  • Inecomcompany
    January 20, 2013 - 12:04

    They always try to make excuses. They should just move the plant to the middle of the woods somewhere far away. Or make the plant workers temporarily live there unroll the stench is 100 percent gone for good. It is a shame when you know you're in Truro due to its nasty smell. I think it is about time we stop making fun of New Glasgow's smell from the paper mill, and fix our gagging stench.

  • Byron Miller
    January 19, 2013 - 23:29

    I have a solution to the odor problem. Move the stinking plant far away from any town or residential areas. This stench has been a problem since the plant set up many years ago. Maybe move it to Boat Harbour in Pictou. The stench from the pulp mill affluent might mast the smell of dead animals and feathers cooking. Such a plant should not be anywhere near a town or residential area. The scubbers are only effective to reduce the stench if they are kept clean and maintained at great expense. Move the plant somewhere far away from any place where ppl live.

  • PJ
    January 19, 2013 - 10:01

    Perhaps the company officials and their families should be required to live in Kent homes on the site until the issue is resolved.

  • Joanna
    January 19, 2013 - 00:12

    If all regulations are being met, then they need to revisit said regulations. I understand they are trying to figure things out with their chemicals, however the solution cannot come soon enough.

  • Simple Minded
    January 18, 2013 - 20:35

    How about .....layin off the chicken feathers....that would work......