Odor complaint lawsuit against biogas company leading to smell reduction efforts

Posted at 11:16 PM, Jan 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-17 22:53:42-05

A state lawsuit filed against a Cleveland biogas company for smell complaints at its plant sites is leading to odor mitigation efforts, an Ohio Attorney General spokesperson told News 5. 

The lawsuit filed in July 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. 

Neighbors near the Collinwood Bioenergy plant in the 13000 block of Aspinwall Ave said the odor issue has been persistent for more than a year. 

“It smells like they’re cooking dead bodies,” said resident Don Adams, who has lived in the same home since 1972. 

The lawsuit termed the odor a public "nuisance" and requested injunctive relief. 

In a court filing, attorneys for the company argued that the smell could be coming from other nearby plants.

“Odors do emirate from time-to-time from the wastewater plants,” the filing said. 

The company also said the OEPA has been satisfied with the work the company has made so far to address the problem. 

A spokesperson from the Ohio Attorney General’s office told News 5 that the case was stayed. 

“The parties have been working on an odor mitigation plan,” a statement said. 

The Ohio EPA issued the following statement to News 5: 

Ohio EPA has been working with Quasar to reduce odors since the state filed for a temporary restraining order in 2016. The lawsuit successfully gave Ohio EPA leverage to get Quasar to develop and commit to an odor mitigation plan.  Since the company has implemented the odor mitigation plan, we have seen complaints drop. 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.

A pretrial conference with the court is currently scheduled for the January 19.