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Neighbors near Collinwood biogas plant say smell is still 'unbearable' after state lawsuit dismissed

Posted at 7:02 PM, May 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 06:52:49-04

Nearly two months after an state lawsuit against a Cleveland biogas company was dismissed, residents near one of the plants say the “putrid stench” has not been mitigated. 

News 5 first reported on odor complaints made against the Collinwood Energy plant on Aspinwall Avenue in December of 2015. 

In July 2016, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit that listed Quasar Energy Group and three of its subsidiaries with plants in Wooster, Cleveland and Sheffield Village for “a steady stream of foul odors described as ‘raw sewage odor’ and a ‘foul smell that is worse than a sewage plant.’” 

The court documents said the findings were based on more than 250 complaints and inspections by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and/or its agents. 

“When it's raw, it's really raw. It even penetrates the walls and you can smell it in the house,” said Collinwood resident Don Adams in January.  

After a series of hearings and teleconferences, the lawsuit was dismissed in March.

An Ohio EPA Spokesperson said the lawsuit successfully gave OEPA leverage to require Quasar to develop and commit to an odor mitigation plan.  

“Since the company has implemented the odor mitigation plan, we have seen complaints drop,” a spokesperson said. 

But two months later and residents in the Collinwood neighborhood tell News 5 they’ve seen no improvement. 

“No, it’s not fixed,” said longtime resident Arthur Howell. “Tell them to come down here and smell it with us. That way we don’t have to be talking about it, let them smell it!” 

Multiple residents on East 139th Street told News 5 they’ve seen no improvement before or after the lawsuit was dismissed. 

A spokesperson for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office deferred comment to the Ohio EPA. 

“This Spring, we will get more feedback on whether or not the odor mitigation plan is working and if it needs to be adjusted, or if we need to take a more significant action,” an Ohio EPA spokesperson said in an earlier statement. 

An Ohio EPA spokesperson said Tuesday that Quasar installed additional odor control equipment at the end of April that should help with the smell. 

News 5 reached out to the company for comment but as of Tuesday night did not receive a response. 

Neighbors with smell complaints are encouraged to call the ODOR hotline at 888-990-6367 (ODOR).