Citing Smell, South St. Paul Residents File Suit Against Waste Oil Company

March 12, 2018 06:35 PM

For a few years, a number of South St. Paul residents say, something hasn't smelled right.

Those residents have now filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court Monday, claiming "noxious odors invading Plaintiffs' property are indecent and offensive." Those odors, they say, come from Sanimax, an animal rendering and waste oil company.


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Sanimax, based in Wisconsin, operates the facility along Hardman Avenue in South St. Paul. Attorney Jeff Storms says about 7,500 residents in a radius 2-mile radius suffer from the smell. Storm says they've heard from about 80 households and residents who all describe the smell in the same ways.

"It's stunningly consistent: rotting corpses, dead bodies," Storms said of the descriptions. 

The suit alleges the company has "failed to install and maintain adequate technology to properly control its emissions of noxious odors."

On Monday afternoon, a plant manager at Sanimax said that he had not received a copy of the lawsuit and had no comment.

Storms says the class is requesting compensation for the decrease in home values, but residents also really want to smell a change.

"(The smell) devalues the properties," he said. "No one wants to buy a home in a town that stinks."

Resident Dave Newfield says it's hard to enjoy his backyard some days.

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"We've had family over and everyone scrambled inside once the stacks started going and that smell hit us," Newfield said.

The city of South St. Paul passed an odor ordinance in 2014. A city spokesperson says Sanimax has taken some odor control initiative since then, but the city is still testing to see if it's working.


Ellen Galles

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