Indiana pet food plant eyes system to reduce obnoxious odors


MISHAWAKA, Ind. — A northern Indiana pet food plant that’s long drawn complaints from neighbors about its obnoxious smells would be outfitted with a new odor control system under a planned expansion of the facility.

WellPet officials told members of Mishawaka’s Common Council on Monday the new system would be more efficient than current control methods and would increase the odor reduction of the plant’s untreated steam from 15% to about 90%.

The new system would cost about $3.5 million and be part of a $30 million expansion of the plant in Mishawaka, about 10 miles (16.1 kilometers) east of South Bend, said Doug Mitchell, the plant director.

The new system would not only reduce the amount of odor released but would also better dissipate steam from the plant by using a taller stack, said Robert Tashijan, WellPet’s engineering manager.

The plant’s current steam stacks are 22 feet (6.7 meters) above grade, but the company plans a new to stack that’s slightly more than 100 feet (30.5 meters).

The plant, which produces dog and cat kibble and employs 126 people, has been a constant source of complaints from neighbors.

In 2016, WellPet installed an eco-friendly deodorizer system to help address neighborhood odor concerns, but that system did not provide consistent results, the South Bend Tribune reported.

Mitchell said since that time, WellPet has spent two years in engineering studies and is proposing to use a system from a company that uses technology to electrically “zap” steam, removing odors.

“We’re checking on things and we’re doing what we believe is going to be the best system for us to provide a friendlier community,” he said.

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