State to DPI: Get rid of smells

ALPENA — Alpena business Decorative Panels International has two weeks to explain why it smells, the state says.

On Tuesday, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy’s Air Quality Division released a violation notice citing DPI for creating intolerable and overwhelming odors.

A Friday EGLE inspection of the company’s campus was triggered, in part, by a series of recent complaints describing foul odors resembling rotting cooked cabbage, sweet burnt wood, and sewer water, the notice reported.

A DPI representative could not be reached for comment.

Air Quality staff detected strong wood odors — which they attributed to DPI’s hardboard manufacturing process — along Ford Avenue.

Inspectors ranked the smells at a level 4 on EGLE’s odor scale, indicating “distinct and definite objectionable odor.”

Smells that inspectors described as a “very wet, stale vegetation odor” along Ford Avenue also earned a level 4 ranking, or, “odor strong enough to cause a person to attempt to avoid it completely,” the notice said.

At a lagoon on DPI property, inspectors discovered odors they called “overwhelming” on the downwind side of the lagoon, strong enough to earn a level 5 designation, or, “odor so strong as to be overpowering and intolerable for any length of time.”

Inspectors could detect no odors upwind of the lagoon, they reported.

Check out the document below. Story continues below the document.

DPI EGLE Air Quality Division Violation Notice by Julie Riddle on Scribd

The state instructed DPI to “initiate actions necessary to correct” the strong smells. It gave the company two weeks to file a written report explaining the causes of the unacceptable odors and the actions the company has taken and will take to remediate them.

The violation notice does not say what consequences DPI could face if the smells continue.

On Friday, about a dozen residents gathered outside City Hall, carrying protest signs and demanding action after several months of living with smells they say keep them from living safe and normal lives on the north side of the city.

Alpena Mayor Matt Waligora told them the city had limited ability to control activity at DPI and urged residents to contact EGLE’s Air Quality Division to report bad smells.

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693 or jriddle@thealpenanews.com. Follow her on Twitter @jriddleX.


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