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Residents Plan to Fight for Action Against a Stench in Penfield

Residents fight to take action in a Penfield neighborhood where an order from a nearby plant is running the quality of life.

One Penfield neighborhood is getting increasinlgly worried about a stench from a nearby rendering plant.  Residents say they plan to take action, citing that the problem is so bad that it's ruining their quality of life.

"It's a rancid, putrid, decaying smell," laments Vern Loveless, who lives near the plant. "It's gut-wrenching, nose-offending and nauseating," added Robert Reid, who also lives nearby.

The smell comes and goes from Baker Commodities.  The plant has been around since the 1930s, processing and recycling all the things we don't want.

Penfield Town Supervisor, Tony LaFountain, listed some of materials Baker processes, including "dead deer by the side of the road, cows that have died in the field through the heat, and scraps from restaurants."

Yet despite the residents' concerns, they believe their complaints have been ignored.  They plan to present a petition to the Penfield Town Board later this month.

It's a smell that just won't go away.

Residents have caused a stink about the growing problem, and in fact, back in the 1980s, a lawsuit was filed by the town and DEC.

"Baker has improved a lot of their operations and the scrubber systems to help with that," assured LaFountain.

Residents say the problem went away for almost 8 years; some even forgot that Baker existed.

"We know it's fixable," explained Reid. "we don't know why they aren't fixing it, and we feel a sense of abandonment by our elected officials in the Town of Penfield."

Robert Reid says odors are back and stronger than ever. "Friday night was a night that we wanted to sleep with our windows open.  It was not humid and I think everybody was doing the same thing and one of my neighbors said, 'Bob, we were running around the house trying to figure out where this stink was coming from.'"

But the smell isn't the only issue; residents are up in arms over the greater health concerns at risk.

"We are not only getting the odors, but we are getting a real big cocktail of chemicals, and who knows what they are all doing inside of us," questioned Reid.

Vern Loveless worries about the effects this will have on everyone in the arena, but most of all, the young children being exposed to the smell and the chemicals. Supervisor LaFountain, attests that the "key to this issue, is how do we make sure that we minimize the number of days they are producing odors?"

LaFountain says he will meet with Baker Commodities and the DEC next week.  The rending plant released a statement to the media saying, the biggest challenge in their industry is the odor, and that in 2013, it made major changes to its air scrubbing systems.  The company will continue to make improvments and upgrades to its system.

Adding lastly, it is pro-active with purchasing new equipment and techonologies.


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