Scribner neighbors voice concerns about smells from fertilizer plant to Dodge County board

Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 6:11 PM CST
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SCRIBNER, Neb. (WOWT) - A natural fertilizer operation is causing unnatural odors in and around a farming community northwest of Omaha.

Tons of corn milling byproduct stockpiled, then its spread on nearby farmland but to neighbors, that stinks.

The Dodge County Board of Commissioners let a half dozen neighbors air out their complaints.

“I could spend five minutes outside and my hair smells like it my clothes smell like it,” one resident said.

“When you sit down to eat something, you smell it, and you taste it,” another told the board.

“The flies are horrendous,” another said.

Environment Land Management Director Nate Hansen sent the board a message that he’s quarantined after exposure to COVID-19. But the county board isn’t on the company and appointed a committee to find answers.

“Consider possible action the board could take legally work with the county attorney’s office to address this,” Chairman Bob Missel said.

And the stockpile operator is being notified to show up at the next board meeting.

It’s not just neighbor’s complaints about odor and flies. A county commissioner raised a concern about the effects of all the truck traffic on county roads.

A fleet of semis hauling trailers full of corn byproduct travel a several-mile radius to dump the fertilizer on farmland. Maintaining those roads costs Dodge County an estimated hundred thousand dollars.

“A hundred thousand might not be adequate, they tore roads up. I’ve asked them to stay off of a road and within half a day they turn around and find another road to destroy,” Dodge County Supervisor Lon Strand said.

And that truck traffic has increased compared to what I saw last week with two scoopers loading the trailers. That’s because some are hearing the company is clearing the stockpile in about 10 days.

Neighor Eric Hanson said he was pleased to see movement on the issue.

“Ten days is considered to be good news to us,” he said. “It’s forward progress so we’re excited to hear there is forward progress.”

Neighbors may soon breathe a sigh of relief.

In a message to the board, the stockpile operator says the byproduct saves area farmers money on fertilizer and keeps it out of landfills.

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