- Iowa-based Midwest Organic Solutions has agreed to stop composting animal products, food and drywall waste due to ongoing odor complaints, as reported by the Telegraph Herald.
- Per a new proposal, the Dubuque County facility will be allowed to use the land for recycling, the processing and sale of construction materials such as asphalt, cement and wood, and composting of yard waste and wood.
- If approved by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, this usage change will take effect by March 31, 2017.
Local residents have complained about site odors for years, repeatedly bringing their concerns to the county's Board of Supervisors. Midwest still plans to compost yard waste, but this change limits their organics processing capacity to the point that they will eventually have extra land available. Another condition of the zoning also requires all crushing of cement, asphalt, rock or other construction material to occur during the day.
The company has been receptive to working with the community, though strict enforcement measures will remain in place. If odor complaints continue then a hearing could be convened between county officials and Midwest with the potential to shut down the company's operations.
As seen at sites in Delaware, California, Kansas and many other states, compost odors can be a serious problem. In some cases odor issues can force sites to shut down and at the very least require expensive mitigation efforts. While food waste diversion has become a national priority many residents still don't want to live near processing facilities. Short of freezing it like an Indiana county has started doing, it will be hard to eliminate odors from the equation entirely.