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West Valley City sues waste company over "the smell" plaguing the community

West Valley City, as seen from SkyFOX
Posted at 12:59 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 14:59:20-04

SALT LAKE CITY — West Valley City leaders have filed a lawsuit against a waste company accusing it of being behind "the smell" that has plagued the community for years.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Salt Lake City's 3rd District Court, accuses E.T. Technologies of violating environmental laws and not doing enough to mitigate a foul odor hitting the community. West Valley City alleges the open-air "Soils Regeneration Site" E.T. Technologies runs next to the county landfill "dumps petroleum-contaminated material and other industrial wastes on bare ground and spreads raw sewage sludge over them."

"The SRS Odor significantly interferes with use and enjoyment of the City’s public spaces, as well as other property belonging to the City’s citizens. Many of the City’s citizens have complained to the City and media outlets about the SRS Odor. The SRS Odor is so intolerable that some citizens report they are unable to spend time outside on days that it is present in the City. The SRS Odor negatively impacts the City’s ability to retain and attract economic development," the lawsuit states.

E.T. Technologies did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on Monday.

For years now, West Valley City residents have complained about "the smell," as it has become known -- a foul stench that sometimes drives people indoors. FOX 13 first reported on the problem in 2018 and again last year. West Valley City itself launched a "Smell Something, Say Something" campaign to collect residents' complaints.

"In 2019 alone, the City received at least 244 complaints about the SRS Odor from citizens living within its boundaries. The majority of those complaints occurred during the 'warm weather' months when the SRS Odor was most likely to be noticed by citizens outside. The majority of the complaints describe the smell as overwhelming, smelling of 'feces' and making outdoor activity impossible or unpleasant," the lawsuit states.

West Valley City seeks an injunction to force changes to abate the smell and at least $300,000 in damages.