Officials of the village of Archbold, the Archbold ConAgra plant, and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency are working to resolve an odor problem that has generated complaints.
Donna Dettling, village administrator, told council at its Monday, Oct. 23 meeting that ConAgra “is doing everything they can” to eliminate the odor.
She said the company spent $7 million building a wastewater pre-treatment system at its plant in Archbold.
The system treats wastewater to reduce solids and Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD– a measure of organic pollution in wastewater) before it is discharged to the Archbold wastewater treatment plant.
The pre-treatment reduces the load, or amount of treatment, the Archbold plant needs to do, and at the same time reduces the company wastewater treatment bill from the village.
Dettling said it takes a while to get a wastewater plant “dialed in.”
“Running a wastewater plant isn’t easy. It’s a big deal to take on,” she said.
The odor that is being released does not contain methane gas, and there’s nothing dangerous.
“If it was, there would be helicopters and news teams all over. It smells, but it’s not harmful,” she said.
Dettling said the problem is that wastewater isn’t moving though the pre-treatment facility fast enough.
She said ConAgra water usage will go up, and another product line being added will also increase flow through the plant.
“That’s good news,” Dettling said.
Dettling said the OEPA received a complaint from an individual in August. She said she and two councilmen had been contacted, as well.
In answering a question from a councilman, Dettling said the man who complained has been contacted, and he was satisfied with the effort of the village.
Dettling said ConAgra officials want people to call the plant and complain about the odor problem. “It’s the only way they can get corporate to respond,” she said.