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Diamond working on plant odor

Solutions may be in place by end of this summer

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Diamond working on plant odor

Ripon’s Diamond Pet Food plant.

Bulletin file photo/

POSTED March 6, 2013 1:11 a.m.

The Diamond Pet Food plant has been in operation for nearly a year.

It’s here that 130 to 140 truckloads of product will roll out each week while coming off three processing lines.

But for the past five months, residents living nearby have complained about the odors coming from the plant that’s been in operation since last May.

The Ripon City Council, in turn, began working in cooperation with the folks of Diamond, most notably, plant manager Mark Ferguson, who attended at Tuesday’s meeting to discuss the matter.

“We routinely do checks on the environment and quality control,” he said.

Diamond Pet Food has been looking to remedy problem while still searching out the source of the odor contamination, hiring chemical engineer Randy Frazier of Yorke Engineering of Dublin.

“Odor is tough to determine since it can be very subjective,” he said.

Mayor Dean Uecker, for one, agreed. “It’s awful to my wife but the smell, for me, is like a bakery,” he said.

Uecker grew up in Manteca not too far from the then-operational Spreckels plant. “Talk about smells,” he added.

Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Chuck Winn and planning director Ken Zuidervaart recently took a tour of the Diamond Pet Food plant.

Zuidervaart noted that long before Diamond came along, the facility had issues involving odor.

“This is nothing new,” he said.”During the winter months the wind shifts and blows (the smells) into town.”

Frazier indicated that Diamond will try to remedy this problem by installing higher stacks on the east side of the factory and putting in additional blowers while introducing more fresh air, adding that the work here could be completed sometime during the summer.

Diamond processes kibbles of pet food using factory-controlled computers to conduct this operation.

“Those at the facility have been working with us,” said John Cadrett, who is the northern region manager of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

Councilman Elden ‘Red’ Nutt was also no stranger to the various smells from the facility over the years. He and Winn were pleased that all parties involved are working together to address the problem.

At least once a month, city officials will provide updates in trying to find a solution.

“I’m grateful of the cooperation (from Diamond),” Winn said. “This is a move in the right direction.”

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