Los Angeles Rendering Facilities Face Stricter Rules

After years of delays, testimonies, and opposition from area renderers, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) in Southern California unanimously adopted a new regulation on November 3, 2017, aimed at reducing odors from the region’s five rendering plants in the Vernon area. The affected facilities are Baker Commodities Inc., Farmer John/Smithfield Foods, D & D Disposal Inc./West Coast Rendering Co., and Coast Packing Company located in Vernon, and Darling Ingredients Inc. located in the City of Los Angeles on the border of Vernon.

The district already requires control of high-intensity odors from cookers at the plants. However, the district stated that citizens in nearby communities claim the animal parts and carcasses that are handled and processed outdoors, along with the plants’ wastewater treatment systems, cause a distinct unpleasant odor that can drift for miles and cause headaches, nausea, and respiratory irritation.

The affected rendering facilities have 90 days from rule adoption to conduct housekeeping standards including covering incoming trucks, washing out trucks before they leave the plant, limiting the time animal materials are allowed to remain outdoors, repairing cracks and holes in outdoor asphalt and concrete areas where liquid materials could accumulate, and other measures. Within 3½ years, rendering plants subject to the new rule must install either a total enclosure or a closed system for certain processes to keep odors from drifting out of their buildings and into the communities.

Darling Ingredients is currently constructing a new enclosed building that is ventilated to odor control equipment in order to meet the requirements of the new rule. It is expected to be completed in January 2018. Baker Commodities affirmed it has always utilized best management practices and the latest odor control technologies – and will continue to do so. The company will also enclose its raw material pits and wastewater plant to comply with the new rule.

As an added safeguard to the community, if SCAQMD issues a notice of violation to a facility for odors, or confirms three or more odor events within 180 days, the facility will have to submit an odor mitigation plan and take steps above and beyond rule requirements to minimize odors. Each facility will also have to post visible signs with the air district’s 24-hour air pollution complaint hotline.

SCAQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties.

December 2017 RENDER | back