International Composting Corporation president Dave Knox expects vindication in the outcome an odour study, which he predicts will show the Harmac pulp mill is responsible for many of the unpleasant smells around Duke Point, not the ICC.
Some Cedar residents blame ICC for a noticeable increase in foul smells in the area recently.
ICC, which has the contract to treat residential and commercial food waste for the Regional District of Nanaimo, does so under a permit that doesn't allow the release of odours beyond the plant property line.
An RDN-funded consultant's report into the sources of odours around the plant is due out this month. But even before the report is released, Alec McPherson, RDN director for Area A (Cedar), wants ICC to follow up on a promise to erect a covered building to contain odours from compost piles stored on the industrial property.
Knox said the cost is too high to deal with a smell problem ICC may not be responsible for.
"You've got people out Cedar way that are experts at detecting the source of odours, and that amazes me," Knox said.
He predicts the report will show many of the smells come from Harmac, which recently underwent major upgrades, and that means the odour longtime residents normally associate with the facility has changed.
"Our concerns is that you have Mr. McPherson, who seems to be an expert at detecting odours - and there are at least 10 odour sources - everyone constantly suggests we know what Harmac smells like," Knox said.
When ICC gets an odour complaint, the complainant's location is noted, along with the date and time. Data collected from an on-site weather station is used to determine if ICC was the likely source of the smell.
"Many times, the wind is in the opposite direction," Knox said.
And often, he said, smells coincide with a spike in Harmac air emissions.
"We're talking a massive spike," Knox said. "They're almost across the road - and when you consider the magnitude of the emissions from them. Our emissions are passive emissions. .. We certainly don't have a smokestack. It's significantly different."
Harmac technical superintendent David Bramley, who is in charge of environmental matters at the mill, declined comment.
"I'm reluctant to point fingers," Bramley said. "There are times we do get calls and it could be one or the other."
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