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Diamond Pet Food planning Ripon expansion
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The Regenerative Thermal Oxidizers that’s currently being installed at Diamond Pet Food in Ripon has one big hurdle to clear.

Hint: It’s not the eye test.

“The true test will be the human nose and the community,” said Randy Frasier of the industrial system for the treatment of exhaust air, most notably, odor.

He’s with York Engineering Service, which is working with the local pet-food processing plant on handling the odor issue of recent years.

Diamond Pet Food is looking to add a fourth production line to its Ripon facility.

At the Dec. 11 meeting, the Ripon City Council heard the latest update on the expansion plans. At the same time, the public was asked to provide questions and comments regarding the scope of impacts of this project necessary for the Environmental Impact Report, according to the city’s environmental consultant Mike Parker.

Diamond Pet Food submitted an application over a year ago on adding that fourth line coupled with updating the odor abatement system.

“Since the application, the City entered into a reimbursement agreement with Diamond Pet Food to cover costs associated with the processing of their application,” Planning Director Ken Zuidervaart said.

The project was split into two phases.

Phase 1 calls for the current installation of the RTO equipment for the odor abatement.

Zuidervaart indicated that the objective here is for the equipment to be “installed, operating and showing proven effectiveness on alleviating pet food odors prior to proceeding to Phase 2,” he said.

Phase 2 is the fourth production line to the facility, with the EIR that’s being prepared identifying and mitigating any potential significant environmental effects of the proposed project.

“Staff anticipates the final consideration for this phase to take place in the summer 2019,” Zuidervaart added.

Diamond Pet Food process kibbles for over 100 different brands, from the Dick Van Patton Natural Balance to The Taste of the Wild varieties.

The RTO was described as “the Ferrari” of the odor abatement equipment.

Diamond Pet Food didn’t go with the system earlier based on the drawbacks. “It created greenhouse gases and it was very costly,” Fraser said.

However, RTO has been successful in Canada and Europe and is currently used at large facilities such as Tesla, according to Fraser.

“There are reports and requirements that will have to be regulated by Diamond Pet Food,” he said when asked by Councilman Michael Restuccia on the issues of greenhouse gases.

 The odor issue continues to be a concern among residents.

“It’s gotten worse, not better,” said Gary Barton, who hoped that the fourth line will not be approved until the odor issue is resolved.

Katie Patterson agreed with Barton.

“The smell is a nuisance and does need to be fixed for the quality of life in Ripon,” she said.

Ray Jackson is familiar with the system and is hopeful that’ll work.

“My concern is the noise and if the new system will be disruptive,” he said.

Those comments and more were due Tuesday to the Planning Department and will be addressed in the EIR for the purposed project.