Residents express concern over Mushroom Plant to Colusa City Council
Colusa County Sun-Herald
Friday, November 7, 2003
BY JAMES NAIR
What began as being a good intention by the landowner of the Colusa Mushroom Plant to inform the Colusa City Council on the progress of the plant quickly turned sour, as some residents stood up and complained of feeling ill as a result of the stench emanating from the plant.
Tuesday evening, Colusa Industrial Properties Manager, Ed Hulbert, came before the Council to advise its members that work is underway to construct a temporary shelter to cover the bunkers, the area of the mushroom plant where the compost is stored, while plans of a permanent shelter are in the works.
According to Hulbert, work is being prioritized in the bunker areas, in order to reduce the odor that is coming from the mushroom facility. He stated that the roof would contain the odor while filters that are on order and should be here in a couple of weeks, would filter the air before it is released.
Although the council was pleased to hear that work was being done to eliminate the smell coming from the mushroom plant, some council members stated that they are still receiving complaints from residents on Country Club Drive and from other areas of Colusa as to the smell coming from the plant.
Council member Stan Walker, advised Hulbert that he had received calls from two child care facilities located in different areas of Colusa, advising him that the smell from the mushroom plant had made some children nauseous and even led to vomiting in one case.
Jeannie Wilsey, a Country Club Drive resident, stood up following Walker's comment and reiterated it, advising the council that while golfing earlier in the week, she too became nauseous. Although it is yet to be proven if the ill feelings stemmed from the odor of the mushroom plant, residents believe it is.
Following comments from Wilsey, one Colusa resident stood up and advised the council that it had better get on board and find out what agencies and what types of tests are being conducted at the facility.
"Anytime public health is affected and people are advising you that they are becoming ill as a result of the smell or chemicals coming from a plant, you need to get on board and find out who is conducting, the tests and what are the results."
Hulbert responded by saying that the Colusa County Department of Environmental Health has been conducting weekly tests at the site but that he didn't have the results of the tests.
Colusa County Board of Supervisor Bill Waite, who was in attendance, stated that Air Pollution Control District, Environmental Health, and the Regional Water Quality Control Board was involved in the testing of the facility.
During the update, Mayor Pam Orippen, stated that in her opinion the smell had increased over the past few days. Hulbert responded by saying that this is the worst time for the odor because of the amount of moisture that is in the air. He added, once the bunkers are covered the smell should be greatly reduced and may even be eliminated.
Other negative impacts of the plant that were brought to the attention of the council during the meeting included real estate agencies, who are now having to advise potential customers looking to purchase homes in Colusa of the smell currently emanating from the mushroom plant.
After the meeting, one Country Club Drive resident reported that a potential buyer for his home "backed out" due to the stench coming from the mushroom plant.
"I had a buyer ready to go," said the resident. "After staying at the house for a short period of time while I was gone, the buyer backed out, reporting that she couldn't handle the 'dead animal' like smell coming from the mushroom plant."
Hulbert concluded by saying that he and the mushroom plant owners are working on solving the problem and appreciated both the community's and the council's patience on this project.
Note: Country Club Drive is located about 2-miles from the composting plant.