E. Dundee Odor Pits Village Against Plant Owner

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Village of East Dundee is threatening to take the owner of a plastics factory to court if he does not start working more closely with the village about odor complaints.

East Dundee Village Administrator Jennifer Johnsen said residents have complained of a baby powder smell and a residue appearing on their property at times ever since Golden Plastics USA moved in to the old Haeger Potteries property nearly a year ago.

Johnsen said Haegar was on the site for 145 years and residents were proud to live near it.

Golden Plastics USA owner Gene Staples said it’s not that big a problem. He said he does not use any toxic chemicals.

“It’s a minor odor and it mostly stays within our property lines,” said Staples.

Johnsen disagreed.

“The scent may appear light at some times, but we’ve been told even by our own building official that it creates a gagging reflex, that it’s that strong,” she said.

Staples disputes resident complaints about residue on their property.  He believes it’s coming from a nearby construction site.

Johnsen says Golden Plastics USA has racked up $3,600 in code violation fines. Of that, $2,100 is for having a “disagreeable odor”.

“The reason why you can’t smell it all the time is that certain equipment has to be operating at that given time and the wind has to be blowing in a certain direction,” said Johnsen.

Staples said the smell comes from when he makes disposable diaper bags and that he’s still trying to lessen it.

“I am actually bringing in an additional machine that is an ozone type machine that would go onto the carbon filter to remove any remaining smell,” said Staples.

He believes the complaints are coming from a small group of residents. Johnsen said that’s not true and the complaints did not start until Golden Plastics USA moved in last November.

Staples said the village is not coming through with promised TIF funds and a grant.

Johnsen said improvements to the property are needed to qualify for any funds.

Staples said he thinks residents complain because they would have rather seen housing built on the property instead of seeing another manufacturing plant.

 

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