Neighbors raise stink over smell from waste processing plant

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) -- A foul odor is at the center of a controversy in Berkeley County and has many residents asking for help from city and state officials.

The smell is so bad, one resident compares it to living next to thousands of portable toilets. It's even prompted him to call the governor's office in the hopes someone can make the stink go away.

For Claud Wessinger and his family, doing yard work has become an issues since they say GenEarth, a waste disposal facility, opened last year.

"Friday we were working in the yard and the odor was so strong it was overwhelming. So we called DHEC and they told me what was being sprayed," Wessinger said.

Through a lengthy process, GenEarth is recycling waste products into electricity, biogas and eco-friendly fertilizer.

During the heating process, the smell heats up.

Wessinger's wife Betty videotaped the bio-waste product being spread as fertilizer in her neighbor's yard.

"What they are doing out here is pretty much spraying it, spreading it out in sludge form and it's created a lot of dust, and I'm scared we could be inhaling something that is possibly harmful to us," Wessinger said.

Moncks Corner's Water and Sanitation Committee met with GenEarth last month. Minutes from the meeting show company representatives admitted they were surprised but aware of the odor and working to deal with it.

"Whenever you know it's actual human waste or a product of human waste it's not a good thought," Wessinger said. "I think they should also give the public better information as far as how it's being monitored, what they are breathing in and hopefully minimize the smell as much as possible."

According to GenEarth, the company has invested in better filtration and odor control methods.

For Wessinger, he just hopes something drives the stink out.

The Department of Health and Environmental control says officials are working with GenEarth to fix the problem. Officials at GenEarth declined to comment on the matter.

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