Residents and city officials are continuing their public-pressure assault on an animal rendering plant that is spewing unpleasant odors into the air over south Provo.
For the past few years, since East Bay Business Park and East Bay Golf Course expanded to the boundary of John Kuhni and Sons animal rendering plant, city officials have worked to reduce the putrid and nauseating odors emitted by the plant.Since most of those efforts have failed, city officials have attempted to shut down the business or get it to relocate to a more remote area of Utah County. So far, those efforts also have failed. Relocating the plant would likely cost the city more than $2 million.
"There is definitely a problem with the odor," said Richard Sechrist, city community development director "They've done some things to try and modernize their equipment, but it still hasn't reduced the odor to the level we had hoped."
Officials of East Bay Golf Course say it's difficult to enjoy a round of golf when odors from Kuhnis make golfers feel like vomiting.
"We've had trouble with the smell since day one," said Kean Ridd, director of the golf course. "We have had people, both men and women, coming off the course nauseous and throwing up and we've had to reimburse them for their fees and apologize for a smell that we really don't have any control over."
Kevin Kuhni, president of the company, contends his business isn't the only one in Provo's East Bay causing a bad smell. It's the nature of a heavily industrial area to emit unpleasant odors, he said.
More importantly, he said the company has been there since 1937. The plant's location was once a remote area, but the city has expanded to it and the businesses knew Kuhnis was there when they located in East Bay.
"We are doing everything we can to try to work on the smell and be a good citizen," Kevin Kuhni said.
The city has received more than 100 complaints about the rendering plant the past few weeks. Some say they can smell the plant miles away.
"Some of those are repeat complaints from people who call me a couple of times a day," said Reta Trimble, city ombudsman. "The city is trying to work with Kuhnis and Kuhnis is being very cooperative."
Two years ago city officials tried to get the Planning Commission to revoke the company's conditional-use permit. However, the commission took no action, and Kuhnis filed a lawsuit seeking to deannex from the city. The suit is still pending.
"Ten years ago, there wasn't anybody down here and it wasn't a problem," Kevin Kuhni said. "Obviously, it becomes more of a problem for the businesses that choose to locate next to us."