Smelly company in Downtown Hanford

FRESNO, Calif.

The Marquez Brothers plant in Downtown Hanford has been having odor problems for more than a year. Paul Bryant will tell you there's nothing quite like the smell of rotting cheese waste on a hot summer day.

Paul owns a sprinkler business just a block downwind from the Marquez Brothers Cheese Plant in Hanford. He says the odor became a problem about 18 months ago, when they added a waste disposal tank to their operation.

"When it smells it stinks so bad, I have customer complaints I have to smell it all day. I have customers that go out with t shirts over their nose, that's how bad it gets," Bryant said.

The City of Hanford agrees there is an odor problem.

"It is a nuisance. It can be considered a nuisance." Hanford's Public Works Director Lou Camara says the city has been pressuring the company to deal with the odors.

"It's not a continuous problem. It seems to come and go. They seem to be spending money putting additional treatment facilities in place it seems to get better and then there's an operational issue or mechanical failure and there's the odor problem. It doesn't take much for people downwind to be affected," Camara said.

The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District started receiving complaints about the odors last week.

"Our inspector went down there, it's clear that there's a problem." Pollution Control District Spokesperson Jamie Holt says the company acknowledged the odor, problem, and hopes to resolve it within a week. If not, they could be cited.

"There's a chance they will receive what we call a notice of violation it's basically a ticket saying you need to take care of your odor. You are causing a public nuisance," Holt said.

Paul Bryant is hopeful something will finally be done but isn't holding his breath.

"This thing was supposed to be cleared up by January this year, which has not happened. It's August. We've still got the smell," Bryant said.

The odor is coming from this big tank behind me the company has plenty of incentive to get it under control because their plans to expand have been put on hold until they take care of the smell.

"We are stepping up the pressure on them to get it resolved," Camerra said.

Until it's corrected, the cheese plant is trying to mask the odor with a bubble gum scented mister. It isn't working.

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