NewsNow Niagara e-edition: June 7, 2018 – View Interactive PDF

Biodigester fumes have neighbours running for their homes and a/c

In the words of classic rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Ooh, that smell! Can you smell that smell?”

Depending on wind direction and time of day, Tony Ferrara says his family cannot remain outdoors – whether it be to work in their yard or spend time around the pool at their Thirty Road home – due to overpowering odours originating at the Sobie Road biodigester plant.

The odour problem started in the fall of 2016 when grape pomous was first shipped to the site. The pomous was to be one of the input materials.

Of late, the odour problems have increased dramatically in strength and frequency.

“You can’t be outside. It just hits you like a wall. Since the start of July at least 10 times it has been simply gross. My kids came in the house because they were going to puke,” said Ferrara.

Ferrara noted his neighbour on Thirty Road who lives just north of Sobie Road sold his property and moved.

“He couldn’t take it. He had to get out of here. He listed that property for $750,000 and he got right about $500,000,” said Ferrara, noting he is worried about his property value, too.

“My wife wants to move. My house is much bigger than his. If he dropped $200,000-plus I would lose $300,000 or $400,000. I don’t even want to think about it.

He said he called Ald. Dave Kadwell. Kadwell’s inquiry netted a response from Grimsby Energy chair Shafee Bacchus.

“We are complying with ministry of the environment’s requirements and to my knowledge we have not been sanctioned in any way for noncompliance. There are of course other operations within the vicinity that emit odour so it would be difficult to say that the odour is emanating for our site,” wrote Bacchus in an email.

Kadwell said Tuesday there is no doubt the smell is coming from the biodigester plant.

“The report we had done notes there is seven different areas there that create smell. It also says the feedstock is supposed to be covered,” noted Kadwell.

“It totally stinks up there, horrible.”

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