What’s that smell in Schuylkill County?

SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Residents in the west end of Schuylkill County say they’ve been dealing with a foul smell coming from a mulch supplier producing biosolids.

They say they’re concerned about the smell, and the impact spreading biosolids has on the environment, and on their health.

Residents are concerned about the odor coming from natural soil products in Tremont, a mulch supplier that produces biosolids. Biosolids are organic materials recycled from sewage.

They say it’s a problem they’ve been dealing with for years. while there have been some mediation efforts put into place by the supplier, residents say their noses smell otherwise.

“You can’t even sit on your porch. you can’t have a picnic you can’t have people over for dinner without being worried that it’s gonna smell or embarrassed that it does,” said Tammy Saltzman from Good Spring.

Residents in the west end of Schuylkill County are concerned over a smell coming from a mulch supplier producing biosolids.

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Saltzman says the smell has sent her to the doctor with stomach problems. Even her dog can’t bear to be outside.

“Never seen a dog that didn’t wanna stay outside,” added Saltzman.

“I canceled a picnic over the summer because the smell was that bad,” says Debra Bourgeois from Good Spring.

Bourgeois says the smell gives her headaches, and she’s also concerned for her grandchildren.

“It’s very irritating. disgusting,” continued Bourgeios.

Wendy Madenford, also from Good Spring, says the smell impacts her respiratory health, causing a dry throat and other issues. She’s been voicing her concerns for years.

“At least the last three or four years. It initially really got bad after they got the increase of more materials,” explained Madenford.

Those materials include septic waste brought in from states like New York and New Jersey.

Local lawmakers say they were made aware of the concerns back in May of 2023.

“You know we brought it to Dep’s attention and said listen this is repulsive. It smelt like a rotting corpse,” said PA State Rep. Joanne Stehr (R) 107th District.

“I think the most important thing is once we started hearing the complaints we made sure the dep was aware of them, and they were fined over 74,000,” said State Senator David Argall.

According to the Department of Environmental Protection, an odor mitigation system has also been installed at natural soil products.

NSP is required to file monthly reports and conduct odor patrols regularly but residents say the smell is still noticeable on an almost daily basis.

The application and production of biosolids is entirely legal through the Department of Agriculture and the Dep.

However, many residents are still concerned about the biosolids being applied and possibly contaminating the water supply.

Officials say they are forming committees to actively monitor the water, as well as the state doing surface water testing.

The Dep will continue to monitor NSP.

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