Petaluma Mushroom Farm Odor, as Described by Neighbors
from letters presented to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors 7/23/2002
"Last night at about 10 pm the smell of rotting corpses invaded my house. My dad was a pig farmer and I was brought up in the country with pig smells, but nothing prepared me for this stench. It is way beyond normal country manure smell." J. A., Magnolia Ave.
"What I smell is worse than what can rise from the bowels of a garbage dump. Sometimes the unyielding stench permeates the residence and wakes me up from a sound sleep. The offensive odor smells heavily of ammonia, human waste, and dead animal. It's pungent. It's relentlessly obscene to the senses and it's made me gag, once to vomit." M. M., Thompson Ln.
"I was woken up from a sound sleep. My throat was burning and I was breathing shallowly. The stench from the mushroom farm was oppressive and I was having significant troubles breathing at all although I did not have a cold or other ailment. Having grown up on a small farm, I have shoveled chicken and cow manure, cleared pastures, fed milking cows and cleared sewers, I know that farms can have strong odors. However I had never before been exposed to the intense, irritating, burning odors that the mushroom farm exposed me to. This is very, very different. The closest odor or fume I can compare it to are the fumes that I remember from older oven cleaners or tri-sodium phosphate. It is arresting in its impact, burning the senses, and provides a strong sense of nausea on strong days." G. C., Thompson Ln.
"A lot of the summer we have to be inside, and can't go out in our yard because of the odor. In the middle of the night, we sometimes have to get up and shut the windows to get sleep. The kids don't want to go outside because of the odor. They hold their noses and run to the car." G. T., Skillman Ln.
"The stench currently produced by the Petaluma Mushroom Farm is often bad enough to bring tears to the eyes and to inflame nasal tissue, and it is impossible to believe that odors of such magnitude, thoroughness, and duration do not carry some form of noxious pollutant." C. C., Thompson Ln.
"We have endured the fetid smells and tractor noises from the Petaluma Mushroom Farm on Thompson Lane since the first time we moved into our home. During that time we have canceled outside work due to a smell which can sometimes be tasted. When we moved to the country we expected the usual farm aromas. We did not expect smells so foul that staying outdoors on some days would make us all nauseated -- and at times even indoors. Can you imagine having a barbeque outdoors on a warm still day, only to be assaulted by that foul stink?" R. & H. M., Magnolia Ave.
"The pile of urine-soaked race track waste they brought in on Monday looked to be as big as my house. As soon as it arrived, the foul ammonia-like fumes hit me. For the next 3 nights, I awoke from sound sleep gasping for breath, eyes burning. The fumes, and resulting headaches, have persisted for the rest of the week." S. K., Magnolia Ave.
"Makes it hard to stay outside, the odor is very potent at times. It's so bad you can hardly stand it. Something has to be done." E. A., Skillman Ln.
"If I am outside or my windows are open when the machines are turning the compost I get a rotten smell. I ranges from mild to strong depending on the wind." D. D., Magnolia Ave.
"The strength of the odor is strong enough to awaken a person from sleep. Sometimes it is very much like ammonia. The smell may also exhibit a strength similar to what a person may experience at the land fill. Other times it smells like carrion. When it comes, it drives a person to close all windows and doors, and to stay inside" E. B., Thompson Ln.
"We live due east of the mushroom farm and our house is directly impacted by the rancid stench that often is generated by the Petaluma Mushroom Farm. The neighbors of the Petaluma Mushroom Farm are paying a price so that Mr. Cerini can increase his profits. The price we are paying is a diminished day-to-day lifestyle due to the stench generated by the Farm." M. E. & W. S., Magnolia Ave.
"The smell is intense, pungent, biting, acidic, offensive, shocking. Children visiting my home hold their noses, and one asked: "What did you kill?"" W. L., Magnolia Ave.
"I grew up in New Jersey and had many opportunities to drive through Secaucus which is a large industrial/refinery city. The odors were quite noxious at times and could bring tears to your eyes. There are times that the odors coming from the Mushroom Farm remind me of the same odors I smelled in Secaucus." J. S., Thompson Ln.
"The smell is putrid as it wafts over our yard. Everyone that visits is shocked, and can't believe that we can stand it." M. D., Magnolia Ave.
"I live directly across the creek from the mushroom farm, thus we are the front line to the stench. The smell permeates everything including my home and my car. I often wonder if my clothes stink to those around me. I am embarrassed to entertain guests, especially on beautiful nights when it would be a pleasure to dine outdoors; we are stuck inside with the windows closed. I recently drove some of my co-workers to lunch in my car. I was asked what is that smell? Please keep in mind that with Petaluma's close proximity to the coast, most homes are not air conditioned. We rely, instead, on the cool coastal breezes to cool our homes in the evenings. It is a tough decision to make: Open the windows to the cool stinky breeze or sleep in a hot house with all of the windows closed?" L. B., Magnolia Ave.
"It is an acrid, horrible odor that at times is so bad we have to close our windows and doors. What is in the air that causes one's eyes to water when compost is being turned?" J. Q., Magnolia Ave.
"These odors resemble two day old road kill in hot weather. This is not just a manure smell. It is a rotten smell and it can make people sick to their stomachs. Many times we have to close our windows, even in hot weather, because the smell is so bad." J. R. Thompson Ln.
"The strength of the odor awakens us from sleep, makes it a hardship to get and keep tenants in our rental, prohibits entertaining at our property, and has made it extremely difficult to employ people to work at our property. The odor is similar to the odor of a landfill combined with a strong ammonia smell." C. K., Thompson Ln.
The stench from the Petaluma Mushroom Farm is unbearable at times and there are many days I cannot open the windows in my own home. It produces the smell of a rotting carcass. When people visit you they say, "What is that awful smell". I have given up planning any outdoor functions at my home because of the odor. It also effects my property value. The Petaluma Mushroom Farm must be disclosed when selling your property. It has also stopped potential tenants from leasing my rental property. They smell it right off. I have lived in the area for over 40 years. It is a terrible nuisance that effects my private life and the lives of my neighbors. I have smelled it up to 1.5 miles from my home." - L.H., Thompson Ln.
"We quite frequently smell an extremely strong stench in the air, similar to that of a rotting animal carcass, or raw sewage. The source is the Petaluma Mushroom Farm." L. & K. W. Magnolia Ave.
"As home owners on Thompson Lane since 1964 we have first hand witnessed the negative developments to the neighborhood with regard to the Petaluma Mushroom Farm. What was to begin as a simple family mushroom enterprise has developed into a horrendous monster and out grown the present site. The odor is unique - not definable as ordinary chicken, cow manure country smells but more closely to decomposing matter. The neighborhood has suffered and continues to suffer from this intolerable situation and it should be ended." R. & S. C., Thompson Ln.
"The odor over the last 2 years has become so repugnant that our realtor related to us that it's bound to effect our property value." M. & D. N., Magnolia Ave.
"The odor eminating from this facility is very offensive and highly irritating to those of us who suffer from asthma. The odor frequently fills the air all day, every day for a week. This prevents one from doing outside work as well as being unable to schedule any outside social functions." V & M. B., Magnolia Ave.
"We're concerned about the frequency of noxious odors emanating from the Mushroom Farm." J. & R. P., Fair Ave.
"There is no amount of money you could pay me to live with this stench". D. Y., Petaluma Riverkeeper
"I don't want that smell where I live, compost is more offensive than the hogs and cattle I raise." - H. A., Bloomfield