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Foul smell lingers in north Denver, company responsible says it's committed to odor abatement

State: Odor scrubbers failed twice this summer
Posted at 4:37 PM, Sep 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-17 21:53:13-04

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DENVER — Neighbors say there's a foul smell in north Denver that continues to linger.

Dozens of viewers have reached out to Contact7 complaining about the odor.

It's so bad, neighbors say they can't grill out or even leave their windows open at night in neighborhoods like Whittier, Five Points and RiNo.

Denver7 has learned the stench is coming from an animal renderings plant in unincorporated Adams County, just outside Denver city limits.

“It’s so bad, I was like – ‘Is there a dead body back here?' Something's decaying," said Five Points resident Andrew Kowalyshyn.

"If that's what death smells like, it's pretty bad," said a Whittier resident named Jennifer.

While noxious odors are nothing new here - with the Purina plant and Suncor - this is different.

Yvonne Iturralde lives right next to Purina.

"It’s worse than this,” Iturralde said.

Denver7 has learned the odors are coming from the Pepcol Manufacturing and DarPro Solutions animal rendering plant at York and 58th Ave. in unincorporated Adams County.

The plant collects animal carcasses and waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill. They boil it all down to gelatins, edible fats, animal feed, organic fertilizers, soaps and a number of other products. With operations on five continents, the company collects and transforms all aspects of animal by-product streams into useable and specialty ingredients.

The plant also recycles restaurant grease.

In a statement - Darling Ingredients said it complies with an air permit issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. And – it makes significant investments in odor abatement.

The CDPHE said it's working with Darling Ingredients and said Darling experienced failures in the pump systems for their high-intensity odor scrubbers twice this summer, once in July and once in August. Those failures contributed to prolonged periods of stench.

The CDPHE says it is working with Darling to ensure the odor scrubbers, which filter the foul air through chlorine, stay functional at all times during processing at the plants. The state says the process of recycling animal waste is inherently smelly, but Darling is fully in compliance with state regulations.

Darling says it's committed to keeping odor levels to a minimum.

“Darling has been in contact with the CDPHE over these recent complaints and we are reviewing our operations for any issues that may have contributed to an odor profile from our facility. Darling makes significant investments in odor abatement and we are committed to being a good neighbor in the community,” said Melissa Gaither, spokeswoman for Darling International. 

Disease specialists with the CDPHE told Denver7 on Monday - while the odors may make you feel sick to your stomach, they are not harmful to your health.

Neighbors say that may be true, but it's a nuisance that can't be ignored.

"Do some more filtering. Curb it a little bit,” Kowalyshyn said. “We’re having some really hot nights right now. It would be nice if we could enjoy them and not have to put up with that smell.”