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CanadaStinky situation: West-end residents say they can't escape foul odour

21:10  13 august  2019
21:10  13 august  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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Ask residents and business owners near northwest Edmonton's Winterburn industrial area what their neighbourhood smells like and they might say "pig farms," "poop" or "rotting bones."

"It's unbearable," said Zbigniew Wypych, who runs Rapid Steel Fabrication, a business in the area.

Wypych and others in the area believe the problem is emanating from Cleanit Greenit Composting System, a facility that processes organic waste into soil.

Alberta Environment confirms it is monitoring the situation and has directed the facility, which has a history of odour-related complaints, to implement better odour-control strategies.

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But a government spokesman also noted that it's not always obvious where bad smells are coming from.

"Alberta government compliance assurance staff inspected the [Cleanit Greenit] facility within the past week," said Jess Sinclair, a spokesperson with Alberta Environment.

"While composting facilities generally emit strong odours due to the nature of the product, it is often difficult to identify the origins of some odours due to the presence of other similar industries, sewage and waste," Sinclair said.

Stinky situation: West-end residents say they can't escape foul odour© Scott Neufeld/CBC Residents and business owners in northwest Edmonton are concerned a foul smell is emanating from Cleanit Greenit Composting. But the city and the province say the odour could be caused by other sources.

Kirstin Castro-Wunsch, the CEO of Cleanit Greenit, said her composting facility located at 204th Street and 113th Avenue shouldn't be solely blamed for the ongoing stink in the area.

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"There are other sources of odour, sources of odour we can't do anything about, like sewer odour," Castro-Wunsch said. "People are blaming us for everything … it's really important that we get correct information about the source."

Wypych opened his business in the late 1990s, around the same time that the composting plant was set up nearby. He said he has been filing complaints against Cleanit Greenit with the city and the province ever since.

In February, community members living in west-end neighbourhoods started a Facebook group about the stench. The group now has more than 140 members.

"Nothing is being done," Wypych said, adding he is worried the pungent aroma will never dissipate.

"I have lost my hope," he said. "We are losing battle after battle."

In 2011, Alberta Environment ordered Cleanit Greenit to stop accepting waste following a slew of odour-related complaints.

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CBC News reported at the time that the facility was accepting more than 20,000 tonnes of waste annually. Under provincial legislation, waste intakes that large require operating approval, which the company didn't have.

Castro-Wunsch said she stopped accepting problematic waste in 2011, following Alberta Environment's order.

"We reduced the waste we accept somewhat, and we will never accept more," she said. "We don't want to take more because we want to be good neighbours."

Stinky situation: West-end residents say they can't escape foul odour© Scott Neufeld/CBC Cleanit Greenit is a composting facility located in northwest Edmonton. In 2011, Alberta Environment ordered the company to stop accepting waste, following odour-related complaints.

Coun. Andrew Knack said he has also heard complaints about significant odour issues.

"In the last six months or so, I've been hearing things a little bit more frequently, particularly from some of the residents throughout the far west end of the city," Knack said.

Knack reminded people that the source of the odour hasn't been confirmed yet.

Stinky situation: West-end residents say they can't escape foul odour© Scott Neufeld/CBC Cleanit Greenit CEO, Kirstin Castro-Wunsch, urges people to call her company if they suspect a foul odour coming from her facility.

"We need to get confirmation of exactly where it's coming from," Knack said. "From what I understand [bylaw officers] have been looking into it.

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"In the end, it doesn't really matter where it's coming from. If it's causing a quality of life issue … that's a concern," he said.

Castro-Wunsch said her facility gives off odours but said her team can remove the smell quickly if they know about it. She urged residents to report smells directly to Cleanit Greenit rather than only lodging complaints with government agencies.

"The problem is when you call Alberta Environment, they call us and they can't give us the information of exactly where the odour is," Castro-Wunsch said.

Castro-Wunsch also said she has ramped up her facility's odour-management procedures in recent years.

Typically, it only takes an hour for her team to get rid of bothersome smells, she said.

"We don't want odour in the neighbourhood," Castro-Wunsch said. "We really want to talk to people and make sure this is not causing anybody difficulty."

Stinky situation: West-end residents say they can't escape foul odour© Scott Neufeld/CBC Zbigniew Wypych runs Rapid Steel Fabrication. He says he's filed many complaints about the sharp smell in the area.

Regardless of where the smell is coming from, Brad Abel, president of the Winterburn Business Association, said the odours are affecting small businesses.

"I get complaints from my staff almost daily," Abel said.

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