Residents air frustrations surrounding odour issues in south London

"The only true solution is to shut it down," said John Pieterson, who lives in the neighbourhood near the Orgaworld organic waste treatment plant. Liny Lamberink/AM980

Frustrated Londoners, upset over a decade of foul smells from local garbage and composting facilities, packed the public gallery at city hall Monday night.

It’s been 10 years since the arrival of Orgaworld in south London, a composting facility, and with it, smells residents say make it difficult to open their windows and spend time outdoors.

Residents blame Orgaworld, Storm Fisher Environmental and the W12 A Landfill for the smell.

Valentyna, her sons Jacob and Dmetriy, and her husband Alex were among 80 Londoners packed into council chamber’s gallery Monday night. Liny Lamberink/AM980

John Pieterson told AM980 when Orgaworld first arrived, they were told there would be no smell.

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“It was supposed to process this product with zero odour, that was the promise for years and years,” he said. “It’s failed miserably on that and there’s been thousands and thousands of complaints.”

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Amanda Raaff describes the smell as overwhelming and unbearable.

“It’s just a smell that smells like rotting vomit that’s been left in a car for a week,” she said. “You can’t stomach the smell, and I work in long-term care and there’s definitely a lot of smells.”

The planning and environment committee voted in favour of a pilot project next summer that would measure odours in the neighbourhood, and spending $90,000 on compliance work by the provincial ministry of the environment.

Mayor Matt Brown also pushed city hall to look into its own enforcement of the smell under the umbrella of the nuisance bylaw regarding noise, asking staff to report back on whether it could be expanded to include odour.

With files from Liny Lamberink.

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