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BEING GREEN DOESN'T MEAN ODOR FREE

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In an ideal world, residential communities would coexist with green technologies that look to recycle and reuse backyard products such as grass clippings, old shrubs, hedge trimmings, tree limbs, etc. These green technologies look to make useful and needed/sought after products out of discarded plant waste material. To address the rising demand from the communities for someone to take thisdiscarded waste stream, Southern California has seen the growth of chip and grind facilities thatprocess this discarded waste stream and produce an intermediate material that can then be processedfurther by composting or used as a fuel in a combustion process. The real world of chip and grind facilities has a more sinister odor component feature, particularly when the intermediate product is left in a pile for too long a period of time (days to weeks).

This is the story of a residential community that struggled for years to have a problem nuisance odor source from a neighboring city removed, and the way that they ended up partnering with their own City to accomplish this objective. The road was filled with potholes, but by staying on the path and working together, the end was worth the delays.

The story starts with the City of Oxnard (COO), California receiving complaints from a defined area within the City. The COO, in following up with these complaints, recognized that there were multiple sources of nuisance odors in the affected neighborhoods. They discontinued a specific odoroussewer discharge that occurred at a manhole in the neighborhood, and commissioned Malcolm Pirnie, Inc. to conduct an odor survey of the general area and a more detailed investigation at a few suspected key odor sources. Results of the odor survey and investigation revealed that one source was dominant. That source, a chip and grind facility, was located outside the COO jurisdiction and wasalready operating under a Stipulated Agreement that had been worked out with the local regulatoryagency and the Superior Court of California, County of Ventura (Court). As a result, although thesource of the majority of the odor complaints was identified, the COO had no jurisdiction to implement a fix. Even the County regulatory agency was unable to force the chip and grind facility to reduce their off-site odor impact.

The ultimately successful plan involved the affected community and the COO working closely together to provide new undeniable evidence to the County regulatory agency and the Court. The Court subsequently had a revised Stipulated Agreement developed between the regulators and the owner to restrict material storage and throughput, and to provide a schedule for exiting the site. This paper will discuss how the COO and the community worked together to beat the odds that were initially stacked against them.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2006

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