Brawley council sidesteps stink and decides DuBose will continue as beef plant liaison

April 17, 2002|By DARREN SIMON

Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — With work moving ahead to address odors at the beef-processing plant here, the City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to continue to use the services of a liaison between the city and plant owners.

The vote by the council means Tom DuBose will continue in that role through June 30. DuBose was contracted by the city in mid-2001 as liaison during the startup phase of the beef plant, which commenced operations in December.

According to his contract with the city, he is to earn no more than a $100 an hour. So far DuBose has billed the city $50,000.


DuBose said for that money he has represented the city in aiding the beef plant through the permitting process.

His primary focus has been to work toward the management of the beef plant's pre-treatment ponds where waste from the plant is broken down before it moves into the city's sewer system.

DuBose said as a liaison he and a second consultant whose services he has used — Sandy Walker, a former Imperial Valley resident who deals with wastewater issues — have written grant proposals that have brought $130,000 to the city.

That money, he said, has gone toward the purchase of equipment to be used at the beef plant in the waste pre-treatment process and by the city at its primary waste treatment facility.

DuBose said his role as liaison has been to assist the beef plant in its startup to ensure the plant can succeed.

"We didn't lure this company here to leave them at the curbside once they decided they would come here," DuBose said.

"We have continued to assist them in dealing with the various government agencies," DuBose added.

He said the city's goal is to show businesses considering moving into the city that they can succeed in the Imperial Valley and the city of Brawley will assist in their efforts.

Businesses tend to hesitate in moving into a new area and into California in general, he said. For that reason the city wants to prove Brawley is a place where businesses can set up operations, he added.

"That is part of the city's reason to have me continue to do what I am doing," he said.

Over the next three months, DuBose said one goal is to have Brawley Beef hire a manager for its pre-treatment facilities, which have been a focus of concern as a result of foul odors emanating from the plant.

Work is moving forward to reduce and eliminate odors. A plastic liner has been placed over the lead pond in the three-pond system at the plant.

In coming weeks the plant will ignite an eternal flame that will burn off any vapors from the lead pond. In addition, the chemical processes in all three ponds are coming fully on-line. Beef plant officials have said by April 30 odors will no longer be an issue.

DuBose said he is dealing with the beef plant on a daily basis and will continue to do so until June 30 to see the pre-treatment issues resolved.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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