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Waukegan compost odors return to Park City

Food scraps yard waste collected Nu-Earth Organics Waukegan each day are mixed then covered an aerated static pile (background) biodegrade.

Food scraps and yard waste collected at Nu-Earth Organics in Waukegan each day are mixed and then covered in an aerated static pile (background) to biodegrade. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: November 21, 2012 2:02AM

PARK CITY — Nasty odors wafting from a nearby Waukegan compost operation have returned to annoy Park City residents just when they thought things were under control.

And to make matters worse, the word is out that compost owners plan to expand their operations in west Waukegan, near Park City neighborhoods.

“We strongly object to this expansion. We urge our Waukegan neighbors, their aldermen, and the county health department to support us in denying this request,” Mayor Steve Pannell said.

“Last week, the odor was just terrible,” former alderman Betty Humphreys told the City Council and a sympathetic packed house Thursday night. “It’s a community health hazard.”

The compost odor problem first surfaced in July when west side Park City residents first complained that they couldn’t enjoy sitting outside to enjoy the nice weather because of the disgusting stench.

City officials quickly traced the odors to a Waukegan compost operation and after several meetings between city officials and compost owners the odors were soon rectified and stopped. However, many were surprised when the odor returned earlier this month.

Humphreys said the odors seem to vary. “And it just doesn’t affect those of us who live on the east side of the city, but also draws complaints from our neighbors in west Waukegan,” she said.

Pannell said he and other city officials have been meeting almost daily recently with the owners of Nu-Earth Organics, 3000 Apple Drive, Waukegan, to eliminate the odors that mysteriously occur.

“Just when the owners think they have found the source, something else happens,” Pannell said.

He said he is also working with Lake County Health Department officials as well, who are responsible for maintaining the public’s well being.

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