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New Agreement to Help Mecca Foul Smells

Angela Monroe

New Agreement to Help Mecca Foul Smells

CREATED Aug. 12, 2011

Strong smells sickened people in the small community of Mecca.
The Environmental Protection Agency reached an agreement with a recycling company to help end those odors.

"It's the first day of the next generation of this company."
Western Environmental is open for business again.
Project manager Mark Patton showed us the changes they made.
"We've probably spent a little over 200-thousand dollars in equipment, and monitoring systems and odor control systems."
The smell started in January two miles away.  Strong odors sickened students and teachers at Saul Martinez Elementary, and other residents in Mecca.
Mecca resident Gerardo Campos said ""It smells like toxicated garbage. I can't stand the smell especially in the evening.""At times I vomited, stomache ache, and I can't stand the smell."
Campos told us the smell started diminishing a month ago.
Back at Western Enviromental, Patton told us one of the EPA's concerns was compost piles with food waste.
"One of the products actually they really thought was very odorous was soy milk product."
"We ended up eliminating adding soy milk at all to the compost," said Patton.
The recycling center installed new systems to fight odor.
Patton showed us the systems, "This is a mobile emissions trailer that we have here. With this system we can actually go to different areas that we are working and it actually sprays a fine water mist."
Another EPA concern was the water recycling area.
"We closed the pond out and removed it." We plan on doing additional water recycling here but in the future all of it will be in tanks and closed systems," said Patton.
A newly installed sytem uses Odex, an odor reducing agent, that will be pumped through 1200 feet of misters at the facility.
So after adding monitoring tools, taking samples of soils, and installing multiple systems to reduce odor, Western Environmental is open again.
"Today is day that we are opening to receive new business, and we're hoping that with that will start to come more work and bringing some of our employees back to work which is something that we've anticipated for a number of months now."