PLEASANT GROVE, Utah – The air in Pleasant Grove is about to get a little more pleasant.
City officials recently announced an agreement with the Timpanogos Special Services District to stop compost operations; something residents say has been causing a foul odor in their neighborhoods.
The stench has been the subject of debate for several years as developments crept closer to the treatment plant. Pleasant Grove city administrator Scott Darrington said the odor has scared away several businesses from re-locating to the area.
The city joined with business leaders in 2012 and filed a lawsuit against the TSSD as the group Citizens for Clean Air and Progress.
“Some developers didn’t like the odor at all and pretty much wouldn’t entertain the idea of coming to Pleasant Grove,” Darrington said. “We had some that wanted to come to our city, and were grateful the city was pursuing stopping the composting.”
TSSD general manager Jon Adams said the composting program is something they’ve done since 1994, and is very popular. It’s not something they wanted to discontinue, but said in the end it came down to being a good neighbor.
They offered a settlement in late 2015 to phase out the program.
“It’s not good to be at odds with the people you serve,” Adams said. “So, we decided that gives us a set amount of time to look at other options, disposal options, technology.”
The program will gradually wind down production until 2020, but Adams said they hope to find a way to continue using the solid waste for composting. That could come in the form of a partnership, as he said production offsite would be too costly.
TSSD has tried several methods in the past to mitigate odor, such as covering the composting piles, and only doing mixing at night, but residents say the odor has been persistent. They’re grateful for the resolution and said it will hopefully make their neighborhoods a more pleasant places to live.
“That would be good,” said Pleasant Grove resident Kitchener Larsen. “Hopefully that manure smell would go away then. I think a lot of the residents here would appreciate that.”
Adams said another reason they decided to phase out the compost program is the land they use is part of a future expansion planned for the waste water treatment plant.