You walk out of your house and it hits you. A foul smell that hangs in the air -- and you can't do much about it. Join the spike in complaints about how much some places stink in Metro Vancouver and other parts of B.C.
Almost half of the 245 complaints received in the region this year are linked to Harvest Power’s composting plant in Richmond, reported Metro Vancouver.
Depending on the wind direction and strength, residents in Richmond – as well as Burnaby, New Westminster and Vancouver – can notice a “nauseating” and “acrid” rotting smell, reported the Vancouver Sun.
Even Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie told the newspaper: “It’s certainly not constant, but it is periodic and quite noticeable.”
The stink from the facility near No. 9 Road and Highway 91 is likely because of an increase in quantity and change in composition of the food scraps being processed there, said Ray Robb, Metro Vancouver’s manager of environmental regulation and enforcement.
With more municipalities adding food waste to their composting programs, animal proteins make compost smellier than just yard waste.
Harvest Power is working to upgrade its biofilter, which can remove the majority of the smells, reported Metro Vancouver. The company has also been asked to enclose an outdoor area where compost is shaken and screened, said the newspaper.
Foul smells should be cut significantly when an anaerobic digestion facility ramps up. It turns organic waste into energy to power homes and should subsequently divert smells, says Harvest Power’s website.
Robb said the foul-smelling air is not generally a health threat.
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East Van residents said offensive smells prevented them from sitting on their patios or opening their windows, reported CBC News.
The situation led to a draft bylaw that could charge offending companies in populated areas. Robb noted however that both the rights of the residents and the businesses need to be balanced.
Metro Vancouver is not the only area in B.C. that’s stinky. A wastewater treatment facility in West Kelowna pumps out the smell of sewage almost daily, leading one resident to keep a “stinky diary,” reported CHBC.