Ellison, B.C. residents accuse nearby fruit-packing plant of dumping sewage

Click to play video: 'Ellison residents upset over sewage smell'
Ellison residents upset over sewage smell
WATCH: For the past several weeks, residents of the rural community of Ellison have been complaining about the smell of sewage. Some are pointing the blame at a nearby fruit packing facility, while others are unsure of what is causing the unpleasant odour. Jayden Wasney reports – Feb 5, 2024

Some residents of a rural community near Kelowna, B.C., say they’ve been dealing with an obnoxious odour and allege it may be coming from a nearby fruit-packing facility.

“It’s just awful,” explained Ellison resident Daniel Moser.

“I’ve seen it, I can smell it, and it’s awful. It has to be their sewage.”

Moser says the foul stench has been lingering through the air for roughly a month now, but other residents say they’ve noticed it a lot longer.

“It’s been a lot more noticeable over the last two to three weeks, but even last summer I could smell it,” says Ellison resident Jeff Bligh.

“I don’t know exactly what it is, but its not a great smell lets put it that way.”

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However, one man believes he may have found the source of the problem. In a video posted to a Facebook group of area residents, it shows what he claims is “sewage” shooting out of a pipe and into a ditch along Old Vernon Road.

Click to play video: 'Fruit growing concerns amid Okanagan drought'
Fruit growing concerns amid Okanagan drought

But he didn’t stop there. The man continues to search for more evidence, and came across a manhole on the company’s property, where it can be seen spewing what he alleges is more sewage.

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Sandher Fruit Packers Ltd.  declined to speak on camera, but one representative tells Global News that he’s certain that the smell people are complaining about has nothing to do with their operations, adding that he feels that some residents are unfairly targeting the company.

Global News then reached out to B.C.’s Ministry of Environment. It says it has received several calls to the Report all Polluters and Poachers (RAPP) line regarding a waste discharge and odour-related concerns linked to the Sandher Fruit Packers site near Kelowna.

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“Provincial environmental protection inspectors have recently visited the site and found effluent from the company’s fruit washing and packing operation had been discharged into the environment,” the province’s Ministry of Environment said in a statement.

“We will be ensuring all applicable regulations that protect the local environment are followed according to our ministry’s compliance and enforcement policies and procedures.”

The ministry added that its inspectors are finalizing their inspection report and findings, and the report will be posted to its website by the end of the week.

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