Clean-up planned for local factory, but get ready for the smell - WNEM TV 5

Clean-up planned for local factory, but get ready for the smell

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BAY COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A local factory is fixing a long-standing problem that often has people holding their noses. 

Michigan Sugar is cleaning the ponds used to store and treat water at the Bay City facility, and that will likely create a smell that could last for weeks.

The cleaning will remove sediment and organic materials from the ponds. That build-up contributes to the odor from the sugar beet facilities.

 “Cleaning our water storage ponds is a critical step to reducing odors at our Bay City facility in the long term,” said Mark Flegenheimer, CEO of Michigan Sugar. “We are committed to doing all we can to reduce odors through facility upgrades, new technology and new strategies, and a thorough cleaning of the water storage ponds is an important activity. We want to alert the community to this work, and let residents know that while odors will be created by this process, the pond cleaning is an important way to reduce odors in the future.”

The cleaning is expected to take several weeks.

In a press release, Flegenheimer said the company is planning a new project for the fall. If it is successful it will help cut back on some of the odors created by the facilities.

The announcement comes after an April I-Team Report that found that The Michigan Sugar Company has been cited multiple times for violating clean air and water standards. Click here for more on that story.

Meantime, Flegenheimer says: “This cleaning process is just one part of Michigan Sugar’s comprehensive effort to reduce odors created by sugar beet processing, and it all starts with a thorough cleaning of water ponds,” he said. “While the odors may increase in the short term, we’re confident this work will reduce them going forward, which is a top priority for Michigan Sugar.”

The company makes Pioneer and Big Chief brand sugars. 

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