Grapeland Mayor Balis Daily said Thursday the city has asked Darling Ingredients to find the source of a stench that has enraged much of the town; he vowed to work with the company to correct the problem.
Daily said representatives from Darling's corporate office visited the plant Thursday, as have state investigators.
Darling's Grapeland plant, 930 FM 227 East, supports the regional poultry processing operation, pet food production, and renewable fuel.
“I live a couple miles away,” said Tom Streetman. “I went outside one morning last week and puked because of the smell.”
Daily, who lives near the plant, said the smell, which he characterized as sporadic, has been a problem since July 17. Residents have legitimate complaints, he said.
“We have been working with Darling to find the source of the problem,” Daily said Thursday. “A Texas Commission Environmental Quality investigator has been out to the plant to try to find the source of the problem. Members of Darling’s corporate office are out there today doing their own investigation.”
A spokesperson for TCEQ on Thursday would not answer questions from the Herald-Press about the smell.
Darling Ingredients is a global developer and producer of natural ingredients for food, feed, and fuel ingredients.
Business owners and community members have reported the overpowering smell clings to workers when they leave the plant.
A petition by Zak Watson urges the city act.
The petition states city and community leaders assured residents environmental impacts from the plant would be minimal, while the overall good, including jobs and economic development, would far outweigh any negatives.
The petition alleges the smell has confined community residents to their homes.
During negotiations with the city in 2016, the Darling said it would initially offer 50 jobs and add 15 later.
Darling Ingredients operates in more than 200 locations on five continents.
Darling Ingredients converts beef, poultry, and pork by-products into specialty ingredients, such as gelatin, tallow, feed-grade fats, meat and bone meal, poultry meal, yellow grease, fuel feedstocks, green energy, natural casings and hides, food, pet food, feed, fuel, bio-energy, and fertilizer.