Hall County residents should breathe a little easier now that the Board of Supervisors has made some changes in the way pen waste from JBS Swift is disposed of.
Supervisor Steve Schuppan told the board Tuesday that "far into the future maybe we can come up with a better solution."
But for now they're working with the Iowa-based company Chamness Technology to make changes in the way Chamness transports and stockpiles pen waste from the local meat packing plant.
"What happened last summer is there was too much of it that laid too long in one spot and it got really bad and it was a horrible product," said Schuppan.
Residents in northwestern Hall County complained to supervisors that the waste known as grit wasn't being spread out as fertilizer, but was sitting and smelling.
"The odor was horrific," said Supervisor Pam Lancaster. "It was just not...not like anything you can describe, as well as the fact that there were flies that were causing problems."
Supervisors say they met with Chamness officials about problems with the stockpile near Cairo last summer. In a letter accepted by the board Tuesday, Chamness outlined several changes they say should help the problem:
-- limiting the number of loads to be stockpiled to 100 or less
-- not stockpiling material within 2100 feet of residences
-- provide a single point of contact at Chamness Technology to respond to any issues or concerns
"We're trying to eliminate the size of the pile and get the process as far as spreading it sped up," said Schuppan. "They promised us they'd do a lot better job with that, so time will tell, but I think they're going to do a good job."
"Working it into the soil will in fact take place," said Lancaster. "Chamness has agreed to even assist a farmer with getting that done, so it's all a great thing."
Supervisors say they toured a Chamness facility in Kansas where grit along with other waste is composted until is doesn't smell, then is used as fertilizer.
"They can actually include so many more products in this - waste food from all kinds of grocery stories, Wal-Marts, whatever, they can make this into fertilizer," said Schuppan. "It's a great process if we could sometime in the future get something going here."
The board is hopeful that a similar facility might be somewhere in Hall County's future.