The Smell of Death: New Home for the Rendering Plant?
Neighbors in Anatolia have a burning desire to rid the air of the foul stench of rotten flesh. The smell is the rendering plant on Sunrise blvd. and Kiefer. There has been a recent spike in the frustrations with the awful odor emanating from the plant which burns road kill for Sacramento county and surrounding areas.
Angela Davy, the Sacramento Metropoitan Air Quality inspector who regularly visits the plant, is requesting that complaints about the smell be submitted either through their website at www.airquality.org programs->complaints or by calling locally 874-4800 or toll free 1-800-880-9025. According to Angela, the plant is usually not burning on Sundays for clean up, but the plant typically gets deliveries during the day and burns later from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. everyday.
The Sacramento Rendering Co. has occupied its 11350 Kiefer Blvd. site since 1955, long before there were any housing developments in sight. There were 165 recorded complaints in 2007 and 23 complaints so far this year, according to air quality records. The rendering company had 23 units inspected over 11 days in 2007 and 19 units inspected so far in 2008 over eight days, according to air quality records. Seven violations were recorded in 2007, according to air quality records. The plant has had no violations in 2008.
In 2003 the builders and developers of the Anatolia sub-division filed a lawsuit in an attempt to require Sacramento Rendering Company to install costly scrubbers to reduce the smell. SRC prevailed when the lawsuit was thrown out of court based on a state law that protects agricultural processing facilities established for more than three years in the same location. The developer was also required to repay the attorney fees for Sacramento Rendering Company.
That summer Sacramento County planning officials passed a resolution that the developer could not obtain any building permits until the odor equipment was installed. This required the developer to spend $2.7 million to install scrubbers at the plant to reduce the smell. These liquid filled cylinders trap and absorb the gas produced by the burning carcasses. There is some question as to whether or not the scrubbers are being used or turned off to save on electrical costs. The estimated maintenance cost to run the scrubbers, at the time of installation, was $30,000 to $35,000 per month.
Mark Loutzenhiser, program supervisor at the air quality district, says “A lot of those things that we think of as being odors are often times flammable. So if you burn them, you can break them down from whatever their formula was into carbon dioxide so you hopefully don’t smell it.”
The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District is the public agency responsible for monitoring the proper use of the scrubbers and imposing monetary fines for violations. The plant has been cited in the past by SMAQMD for violations and by the Water Quality Control Board for waste spillage. In May of 2007 SRC was required to pay $20,220 in penalties for violations which occurred in 2005 & 2006. SRC failed to maintain several of their water feeds at the minimum gallons per minute (gpm), failed to operate their spray tower scrubber while rendering and failed to properly maintain flow meter equipment.
As more homes are built in Anatolia, Mather and Kavala Ranch it appears clear that plant manager Bill Eckstein knows his days on Kiefer blvd are numbered. When will the plant find a more remote location remains to be seen. It probably depends on the will of the residents and the willingness of the City of Rancho Cordova to make it happen.
Mike Linville, a resident of Anatolia has created a useful website for following the battle with the rendering plant. His website www.whatisthatsmell.net provides the ability to rate the day’s smell, follow recent developments in the news, and link to the SMAQMD complaint form.
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