Mushrooms ruled too foul

The Appeal-Democrat
Marysville-Yuba City, CA
August 3, 2005
By Kymm Mann/Appeal-Democrat

A Colusa County judge issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday against Colusa Mushroom Inc., which had been accused of producing foul odors.

Judge S. William Abel's order stops the plant from growing mushrooms until the jury trial, scheduled for Sept. 8 and 9.

The plant also must reduce by half its historical yearly total production, rearrange the transportation schedule so trucks are not carrying the mushrooms during the time most residents are home and discontinue composting outside the facility.

In January, Colusa County sued the company and Colusa Industrial Properties Inc., owner of the Colusa Industrial Park on the city's east side where the plant is located.

A neighborhood group called NoMO - No More Odor - has opposed the plant since it opened in January 2003.

Harold Wilsey, a retired attorney and Colusa resident who heads NoMO, was not happy with Tuesday's outcome.

"I was disappointed. I thought they ought to have shut (the plant) down right then," Wilsey said. "I think we're going to come out all right eventually, but ... I was hopeful the judge would say, 'You're all through until you get this smell fixed.'"

Colusa Mushroom's attorney said the company has tried to solve the problem, including rearranging the transport schedule, offering to cease production and installing a new ventilation system.

Wilsey said he can still detect a "dead, rotting flesh" smell nearly two miles away.

"They can do all the compost in the world as far as I'm concerned, as long as it didn't smell," Wilsey said.

Wilsey said the time and intensity of the smell varies from day to day.

"I just want the smell stopped, I don't care how they do it," he said. "It's none of my business how they do it; it's my business that they do it."

Colusa Mushroom officials were unavailable for comment.

Appeal-Democrat reporter Kymm Mann can be reached at 749-4708. You may e-mail her at

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