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Potato wastewater stinks up neighborhood

By By Jamie Ostroff, Reporter
Published On: Aug 05 2013 08:12:55 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 05 2013 08:15:51 PM CDT

Potato waste water stinks up neighborhood

BINGHAM COUNTY, Idaho -

People in a local neighborhood are raising a stink about a nasty smell. They say the smell comes from a potato company, and it is ruining their lives at home.

Kris Baker enjoys mornings outside, on her porch along 500 West near Blackfoot. By afternoon, she says the stench blows in.

"It's really putrid," Baker said. "It makes you want to throw up."

"I'll go inside, and sometimes at night, the basement even smells as bad as outside," said Amanda Smith, Baker's niece. "It's like when you get a rotten potato in a bag that you get from the store and it's been sitting in the drawer, and you're wandering around your kitchen going, 'What's that smell?' Then you find it. It's horrid."

The smell comes from irrigation sprinklers across the street from Baker's home. The sprinklers belong to Basic American Foods, which uses them to get rid of wastewater from the company's Blackfoot facility.

"You have to prepare an odor management plan to deal with circumstances like this," said Tom Hepworth, the engineering regional manager for the Department of Environmental Quality.

Hepworth works closely with Basic American Foods throughout the disposal process.

"The bacteria multiply, under the right conditions, in the pipeline," Hepworth said. "When those bacteria populations get high enough, they start producing noxious gases."

Hepworth said the gases are not dangerous. They just smell bad.

Baker said she filed a complaint with Hepworth Monday afternoon.

Hepworth said he will look into the issue.

Messages to the environmental manager at Basic American Foods were not returned.  

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