Environment
2:16 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Louisville's Swift Plant Fined $98,000 for Two Years of Odor, Permit Violations

Part of the Butchertown neighborhood.
Credit Creative Commons

Louisville Metro Government has fined the JBS/Swift plant in the city’s Butchertown neighborhood nearly $100,000 for violations.

The Notice of Violation issued by the Louisville Air Pollution Control District alleges that the JBS Swift plant in Butchertown let objectionable odors leave the plant numerous times over the past two years, and cites more than 50 complaints from local residents. The facility was also fined for failing to report emissions and keep monitoring records.

Andrew Cornelius is the president of the Butchertown Neighborhood Association, and says at times, his neighborhood smells like either a slaughterhouse or animal waste. But he adds it’s gratifying to see the city take some action to stop the odors.

“The fines are a good start and hopefully by keeping up the fines and keeping Swift on the radar of Air Pollution Control that we can hopefully work towards better compliance and relieving some of the nuisance that facility creates for the city of Louisville,” he said.

The Swift plant has already paid the city more than $85,000 in fines since 2008.

Under Louisville’s air pollution laws, any facility isn’t allowed to let an odor leave its property line. Once an Air Pollution Control officer smells the odor, the district can take action. The Air Pollution Control District is asking the plant to submit a plan for controlling its odors by March 28.

"We're committed to addressing this issue and we take it seriously," said JBS Head of Corporate Affairs Cameron Bruett. "We're reviewing it in great detail, the team in Louisville is working on this, and we'll work with APCD to identify any issues that have been identified, to address them, as necessary, upon completion of the review."

Bruett says the Swift plant is already in various stages of installing some odor control devices, like scrubbers, filters and screens. The company has also proposed enclosing its stock pens, which he says would further reduce the odors leaving the plant.

The APCD proposed a fine of more than $98,000, but in a letter said Swift could settle the case for about $74,000.

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