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Taft Midway Driller - Taft, CA
  • Synagro cited after neighbors raise stink about odors

  • Kern County Health Department found composting firm was in violation during visit earlier this year
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  • Synagro's biosolids composting facility east of Taft was cited by the Kern County Department of Public Health for violating terms of its conditional use permit earlier this year.

    An inspection conducted in late April found that strong odors were emitting from the plant located just off South Lake road about 11 miles east of Taft.
    The inspection was conducted in response to complains from area residents, according to a copy of the inspection report obtained by the Taft Midway Driller.
    He started the inspection by sniffing the air several miles from the Synagro facility at Highway 119 and Enos Lane.
    He found nothing.
    He gradually worked his way closer to the plant, surveying 15 different locations and measuring wind speed, direction and detectable odors.
He found no problems until a late night wind shift when he was near a privately owned water skiing lake.
    "...when the winds shifted out of the southwest, (11:20 PM) a strong odor was detected that had a signature odor from Synagro," wrote Charles Bauer of the DPH's environmental health services division.
    "On inspection of the Synagro facility, it was determined that the Biosolids mixing building's intake roll-up door was open. And the biosolids/woodchips mixed pile, located at the end of the conveyor belt was at its maximum height," Bauer wrote in a report. "These two factors plus the wastewater pond anaerobic conditions may have all in concert or individually contributed to the generation of odors. These three items need to be corrected immediately to eliminate the incidence of odors migrating off-site."
    According to Bauer's report, nearby resident had been complaining about smells from the plant.
    "The survey was in response to several odor complaints at the residents of the Ski Lake located approximately 2.9 miles northeast of South Kern Industrial," the inspector wrote.

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