What will a 6% reduction in the odor of dog food emanating from the Nestle Purina factory smell like?
It appears residents of the east side will soon find out as Flagstaff City Council moves forward with the second phase of a plan designed to reduce the smell of the factory by a total of 50%.
“I appreciate you all working on this and I appreciate the effort to negate the odor,” Vice-Mayor Adam Shimoni told Purina officials last week. “It is a concern to a lot of our public, so I think this is a step in the right direction.”
The city signed phase one in 2016 after approaching the factory about ways to reduce the smell the prior year, said John Saltonstall, the business retention and expansion manager for the city.
In phase one, the company captured the air released by five vents on the one-story section of the structure. The emissions are then moved 200 feet to the top of the mill building where they are released. That process also allowed the air to dry out, which further reduced the odor when released.
By doing so, as the odors leave the facility, they are much farther from ground level and may dissipate more quickly.
And according to Purina, the efforts paid off, reducing the odor of the plant by 44%, well above what they had anticipated.
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The expectation had been to reduce the odor of the factory by just 37% in the first phase and then by 13% in the second phase, bringing the total odor reduction to 50%.
But as effective as the improvements proved to be, they also ended up costing far more than expected, said Purina’s Director of Sustainable Operations Gopi Sandhu.
“We did spend quite a bit more with phase one than we anticipated, but with that we achieved quite a bit more too,” Sandhu told council.
In the end, Purina spent $1.3 million, which exceeded the company's original estimate by $870,000.
The effectiveness of the first phase, and its expense, changed how the company is looking at completing the second phase and achieving the original goal of a 50% total odor reduction.
In phase two, Purina now wants to connect one more of the exhaust vents on the one-story section of the building and connect it to the same venting system they set up as part of phase one. Just like in the first phase, this would reduce the odor by releasing it farther from the ground level.
The improvement is expected to reduce the smell of the factory by another 6% and cost the factory $250,000. In return, the city would give the factory a pass on one year of property tax, about $400,000.
Phase one saw the same deal with the city giving up the $400,000 of property tax to help offset the cost of that part of the project.
To the council that sounded like a pretty good trade-off, and the measure moved forward last week with little discussion.
Adrian Skabelund can be reached at the office at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at (928) 556-2261 or on Twitter @AdrianSkabelund.