Downstate Grafton gives fish plant 30 days to stop smells

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In this July 16, 2014 photo, Asian carp nears the end of its conversion from a whole fish to eventual animal feed at the American Heartland Fish Products carp-processing plant near Grafton, Ill., north of St. Louis. | Jim Suhr / AP

In this July 16, 2014 photo, Asian carp nears the end of its conversion from a whole fish to eventual animal feed at the American Heartland Fish Products carp-processing plant near Grafton, Ill., north of St. Louis. | Jim Suhr / AP

GRAFTON, Ill. — Authorities in southern Illinois have given an Asian carp processing plant 30 days to stop rotten odors or face a shutdown.

Grafton Police Chief Chris Sullivan filed the ruling Wednesday against American Heartland Fish Products. The company has five days to appeal.

City attorney Jim Schrempf represented Grafton at the Wednesday hearing, which was meant to legally establish there was a problem with nuisance odor. Both parties agreed there was an issue. Schrempf said he hopes the company doesn’t appeal.

“American Heartland Fish Products diligently tried, but has not achieved eliminating the unacceptable odor,” Schrempf said.

The carp-rendering plant opened in April, turning the invasive species into dehydrated meal and fish oil. American Heartland, which invested about $3 million in the plant, promised the community that the plant wouldn’t produce any odors.

“It was not a lie,” said Peter Allen, the plant manager and son of one of the three resident investors. “We’re actively looking for somewhere to move. We understand. We apologize.”

The city can fine or shut down the plant if the company doesn’t successfully address the smells within the 30-day timeframe, according to Sullivan.

“The city welcomed the new manufacturing business to Grafton, believed what they said that there’d be no adverse effects and in fact beneficial in eliminating Asian carp,” Schrempf said. “But it causes unacceptable odor and the equipment is not as good as the makers of the equipment claimed. The city believed them.”

The (Alton) Telegraph reports the height of exhaust stacks at the plant was increased by engineers following a recent recommendation from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. But the change has yet to be tested.

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