Compost Site Overwhelms Mpls. Community

Updated: 03/19/2014 6:42 PM
Created: 03/19/2014 5:30 PM
By: Todd Wilson

Susan Husby loves spring and summer but not what comes with them.

"There's a compost lot which is, I'd say, six, seven blocks away," Husby said. The site is on North Washington Avenue. Husby says, during the summer it's impossible to go outside because of the smell.

"It cuts into my life. I can't enjoy sitting out in the backyard," she said.

Organic Technologies Inc. is a yard waste transfer facility. Their web site says, compost work is from April 1- Dec. 15, weather permitting.

Dave Herberholz is the Director of Solid Waste and Recycling for the City of Minneapolis. He says they've known about the smell problem for a while. So contractually the city has made Organic Technologies Inc. step up their game.

"Such as the amount of material that leaves the site is equal to what enters the site," Herberholz said.

Organic Technologies is now mixing leaves and wood waste with materials to fight the smell. Plus, "They try not to process during high wind days," he said.

Carmel Champion lives next door to Husby. She says she doesn't believe the city.

"It's like, if you put your head inside a really dirty dumpster and took a great big whiff, that's what the entire neighborhood smells like," Champion said.

Husby and Champion say, they both have called 311 several times but never gotten a call back.

These are the number of complaints filed for the past five years:

  • 2009 – 2
  • 2010 – 0
  • 2011 – 19
  • 2012 – 7
  • 2013 - 22

Husby says, enough is enough and something has to be done. "I'm very tired of it, it cuts into my life," she said.

The city says they will continue to fight the smell coming from the site. A city council member said the contract with Organic Technologies Inc. will be over at the end of the year.

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