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Consultant: Plant working to eliminate odor complaints

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
February 9, 2010
— A consultant told Milton residents Monday night that his goal is to eliminate complaints about odors coming from the United Ethanol plant, and he believes plant management wants the same thing.

Consultant Bill Roddy said he has inspected the plant, made recommendations and interviewed nine people to hear their complaints.


“I validated enough of them (complaints) to convince United Ethanol that you have a real problem here,” Roddy told the six people who attended a complaint-gathering meeting at Milton City Hall.


“My philosophy is you don’t want to emit an odor that upsets any receptor,” Roddy said.


Few complaints were aired at the meeting. People mostly listened to Roddy and asked a few questions.


“This has been going on long enough,” said Milton City Council member Maxine Striegl. “It’s time we get it cleared up and settled.”


Ginny Goodman, 6706 E. High St., said she’s concerned about the health effects of the emissions, not just the odors: “What am I breathing? What is my family breathing?” she said.


Roddy said he is not an expert on health effects of emissions, but he believes that if the plant complies with its permit, it will meet standards set to ensure public health.


When pressed, Roddy acknowledged that even if the plant does everything he recommends, there’s still a chance of a breakdown that could produce complaints, “but you minimize the impacts to your community if you pay attention to your business, and I think they understand that,” he said.


Milton City Council member Dave Adams said he’s not happy with how the plant has responded to complaints.


The person checking needs to be on the property of the complainant in order to understand exactly what the problem is, and that’s not happening, he said.


United Ethanol already has made improvements in equipment and maintenance practices, but more remains to be done, Roddy said. One improvement should be the purchase of control-system equipment, which could be installed before spring, he said.


Roddy is writing a report detailing what the plant should do. He said it would be released later this month or next month.


Roddy said if United Ethanol does everything he recommends, emissions would be lower than what is allowed under the plant’s state permit: “I guarantee it,” he said.


Roddy works for ICM, which has built 102 of the 180 ethanol plants in North America and which has dealt with similar complaints over the years. He said United Ethanol hired him to get to the bottom of the complaints in Milton.



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