CARTHAGE, Mo. -- A Carthage company that turns turkey byproducts into fuel oil has been cited for the third time in less than a month for odor emissions, and could start facing fines of $10,000 a day or more if it doesn't fix the problem.
A Department of Natural Resources investigator detected the latest odor while visiting the Renewable Environmental Solutions plant after normal business hours April 18. A notice of excess emissions was issued Friday.
Meanwhile, the first such notice, which was issued March 29, has been upgraded by the DNR's air-enforcement program to a notice of violation. That means the DNR can start fining the company $10,000 a day for the violation -- and up to $30,000 a day if the other two notices of excess emissions are upgraded.
"Since the company did not claim the odor problem was from a startup, shutdown and equipment malfunction -- the only criteria for possible exemptions -- we automatically upgraded the notice to that of a violation," said Steve Feeler, director of air-quality enforcement for the DNR. "That is required by state regulation."
The DNR has received 31 complaints in April about odor problems coming from the plant, and 68 complaints before that.
The second notice of excess emissions was issued April 6.
Doyle Childers, DNR's new director, said he thinks RES will solve its odor problems before any fines have to be levied. If it doesn't, he said, the plant could be closed down.
He said he's not excited about the department "writing a lot of violations or fining people. What I want to do is get them where they are no longer creating a problem."
If the company doesn't correct the problem or shows reluctance to do so, the Missouri Air Conservation Commission could refer the matter to the Missouri attorney general's office for enforcement action.
Attorney General Jay Nixon and the city earlier this month filed a lawsuit against the plant, seeking to put a stop to the foul odor it emits.