Parkland Press

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Nestle reps discuss odor control at plant

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 by SUSAN RUMBLE Special to The Press in Local News

Representatives of Nestle Purina presented a report to South Whitehall commissioners on odor control at the pet food manufacturing facility also known as ALPO.

At a December 2019 meeting, plant Manager Winston Silva offered comments to the board and public.

“We want to share with the community what we’re doing with our odor remediation plan,” Silva said. “We’re working with experts.

“It’s a complicated issue. There are different types of odors.”

The issue of unpleasant odors was raised at a September 2019 meeting by Antler Court resident Daniel Spiegel.

He reported when the heat finally decreased after the long summer, he shut off his air conditioning, opened the windows, and was hit by “a potent wham” from the smell.

In response, commissioners invited Nestle to come to the township to discuss the situation.

Environmental engineer Gopi Sandhu from St. Louis, Mo., provided a time line starting with a new cooking operation the plant began in July 2017.

“We got a lot of feedback from the community on odors,” Sandhu said. “We hired experts and looked at variables such as weather, which could impact it.”

He said the company installed an ionization system which injects oxygen into the exhaust stream.

This led to positive feedback by spring 2018.

Sandhu said additional studies led to a Purafil system which uses pellets to trap odors before discharge.

“We are confident this system will work,” Sandhu. “We’ve allocated some resources for 2020 just in case they are needed.”

Spiegel then offered his comments.

“Communication is critical,” Spiegel said.

“It’s important we work with you. You employ our neighbors.”

He said a big company like Nestle should be able “to figure this out.”

Silva said when the office receives a complaint, representatives go out to verify the odor is actually coming from the Nestle plant.

He noted a recirculation system sometimes causes an odor.

Sandhu said Nestle has already invested $3 million in odor research and remediation.

“We’re still doing some tweaking on the Purafil system,” Sandhu said.

Silva commented on the Nestle manufacturing operation which employs 500 individuals.

“We’re part of this community for the last 80 years,” Silva said.

“We want to be a responsible neighbor.”