Sibley, Iowa — According to the Osceola County Clerk of Court’s office, a magistrate is ruling that the Iowa Drying and Processing plant in Sibley will have to pay nearly $9000 in fines for a smell emanating from the plant.
The case was heard on Monday, March 21st. Since Iowa Drying and Processing and their legal counsel failed to appear at the non-jury trial, the magistrate listened to the city’s argument, which alleged ten counts of the city’s offensive smells ordinance, and found in favor of the city.
In 2013, Iowa Drying and Processing purchased the former AMPI (that’s Associated Milk Producers, Inc.) building near Sibley’s downtown. Among their products, Iowa Drying and Processing makes a a high-protein agricultural blood product called plasma that goes into pet foods, according to company officials, and they admit that sometimes the process releases an odor.
The company said they’d install a deodorizing apparatus that would pump out a wintergreen smell, but Sibley City Administrator Glenn Anderson says it’s not working. And that’s a problem because Andrson says when it’s bad, people don’t want to go out to eat in Sibley’s restaurants or shop in Sibley’s stores.
A more expensive “wet scrubber” solution to the odor problem is being considered. The Sibley City Council wants it installed by April 1st.
Iowa Drying and Processing has been fined by the City of Sibley numerous times. According to court records, the first fine was for $50. After that fine, the Sibley City Council decided to change the odor ordinance. The old ordinance called for fines of $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense, and $200 for each subsequent offense. The new ordinance calls for a first offense fine of $750 and subsequent fines of $1000.
After the ordinance changed, the plant continued to receive fines — first a $750 fine, and now eight more $1000 fines for a total of $8800 in fines. Fees and court costs will also likely be tacked on, and 2.54% interest will be charged. The clerk’s office says the deadline for Iowa Drying and Processing to pay is May 2nd.