Brawley Beef top executive declares odor issue resolved

May 01, 2002|By DARREN SIMON

Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — Greg Beck, president and chief operating officer of Brawley Beef LLC, has declared the plant's odor issues, which have raised concern among city residents, should be resolved.

Beck said Tuesday work on the beef-processing plant's wastewater ponds — thought to be the source of foul odors about which area residents have complained — is finished.

Beck said with all the steps taken in regard to wastewater treatment in the plant's three ponds, also known as lagoons, residents should no longer face odors.


"It should be a non-issue," he said.

Among the three ponds, the first is considered an anaerobic lagoon, which means it is deprived of oxygen; the other two ponds are aerobic, which means they have oxygen as part of the treatment process.

The first pond is capped with a thick lining so any fumes created by the treatment process are captured underneath the covering.

A flame that is now operational is lit twice a day — once in the morning and later in the afternoon as temperatures increase — to burn off fumes created in the first pond.

Beck said if necessary the flame may be ignited more than twice day. That flame, he said, will burn off any odors that might come from that pond.

The next pond operates with six aeration devices that saturate the lagoon with oxygen.

Beck said it could take another five to seven days to fully saturate that pond and during that time there is a chance a faint odor might be detected. He said once oxygen saturation occurs in the second pond, there will be no noticeable smell.

The third pond operates with Solar Bees, devices that stir the water. The third pond is the final lagoon before the treated waste from the beef plant moves into the city's wastewater system.

Beck said if people are continuing to detect odors from the plant, they can contact plant officials at 351-2700.

"We will absolutely look into the matter," he said.

Beck has said dealing with the concerns is an important matter because if Brawley Beef is to succeed it must be a good neighbor.

Since the opening of the beef plant, area residents have said odors have been a continuing problem, particularly in the early evening.

Some residents have said the odors have become less noticeable, but others have said the stink has continued to be a problem.

The county Air Pollution Control District last month issued an order that set stipulations for the beef plant to meet in containing odors.

Steve Birdsall, county APCD officer, has said the beef plant has been following the stipulations and addressing the issue.

He said the APCD has been monitoring the plant on a weekly basis and will continue to do so. He has said if odors continue or are found to be coming from other areas of the plant, those issues will have to be addressed.

Brawley Mayor Toni Carrillo, who lives near the plant, said plant officials met with residents last week to discuss the ponds.

She said officials warned residents they might detect odors as the aeration devices start operating. Carrillo added odors were noticeable last week and Sunday, but it was not a surprise based on the meeting.

She added since Sunday she hasn't noticed odors. Carrillo added she is confident Brawley Beef will solve the issue.

Gary Wyatt, the county supervisor for the North County area in which the plant is located, said he is confident Brawley Beef will resolve the odor concerns.

"They have assured us many, many times they will do whatever it takes to resolve the problem," Wyatt said this morning.

He added, "We want and they want to be good neighbors. They want people to be happy with them as neighbors."

Wyatt pointed out the plant has become an important source of economic development for the Imperial Valley, adding there will be more development in the North County.

as a result of the plant.

"It's tremendous for the community and the whole Valley," he said, adding the facility is providing the jump-start for economic development efforts.

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

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