Monday, July 17, 2006

That Awful Ammonia Smell - Peeeeeuuuuu!

You know, since the hog factory opened, I thought maybe we'd be okay here...

But the last few days there was next to no breeze at all. With our air conditioner broken (long story that involves our adventurous little boy) we've had to throw our windows open wide every night.

Long story short: two nights ago my eyes were actually watering and it felt like my side of the bed (tucked into a corner of the room) just reeked with ammonia.

We've been cleaning a LOT this past week in preparation for our son's 6th birthday party last weekend, but I know for a fact we didn't use anything containing ammonia. So where in the heck was this terrible smell coming from? It felt like my eyes were bleeding, and I was afraid to do my deep breathing exercises because it hurt so much.

Today -- FINALLY! -- we have a strong wind coming in from the southwest.

The ammonia smell is gone.

I hate to say it all came from the CAFO, but... where else??

On a sidenote (and an unabashed plug) I'm sorry I've been absent for a few weeks. Just finished our new Team Center and Goji Biz Op site, finally finished writing the Free Goji Report - "Is Goji Right For You?" - and have it online now.

On another unrelated note, we got our 5,000 mile check up reminder postcard in the mail for our new Ford Escape. Funny thing is, we only have just over 2,000 miles on it so far. Working full time from home has some great cost-saving advantages! After reading Kemplog's "Energy Crisis" entry, I'm glad in at least this small way, we're doing our part. At this rate, it will be at least another 2 to 3 months before we need that 5,000-mile checkup.


Anonymous said...

I have it on good authority that they fertilize the goji berries with hog manure...

johnlamonica said...

i live on the kankakee river sometimes when a dead carp washes up on shore you get a smell,mabe we should get rid of those fish so wen they complete there natural cycle of life they dont stink up my shore line

Anonymous said...

You must contact Malcolm Dekryger and complain. Remember, he said if we have a problem...Let him know about it! I just contacted him concerning both the smell and the flies, along with other surrounding neighbors!!

kmyers said...

Regarding comment #1, I don't know where you're buying your goji berries from, but I highly recommend you find another source. try goji juice instead

kmyers said...

Regarding comment #2 above. Hey john -- thanks for posting. If I were you, I'd be a bit more concerned about what is killing those carp in the kankakee... it might be seeping into the aquifer supplying water to a ton of Indiana residents.

kmyers said...

Regarding comment #3. Yeppers! We're sending our complaints off today, since yet again the smell keeps cycling through the wind our way. Ugh! Terrible, isn't it?

Keith said...

I have recently found out that plans are being made to build a swine farm near my home in Southern Indiana. Was wondering if you had information on how to go about stopping this from happening. Not sure who to contact and don't have a lot of information. Thought you might be able to forward some useful resources.

kmyers said...

Hi Keith. I'm sorry to hear what's happening in your area.

Your first link to visit would be here:
Guide to Confronting A Cafo

After you have downloaded the Guide, you will also want to visit:

There are plenty more helpful resources and organisations you can contact there.

Be sure to get other residents organized in your area. A lot of people have no idea what "factory farms" are all about. Education will be important.

It's important for people to know that these operations don't just affect people living in the immediate vicinity. In my humble opinion, they affect EVERYONE -- in more ways than one! I humbly admit, I had absolutely no idea until I found out one was moving in 2500 feet from my front yard.

There are two steps a prospective CAFO (factory farm) owner will have to take -- getting an IDEM permit, and getting a Special Exceptions Permit from your local area Board of Zoning.

You will want to find out who is responsible for IDEM permits being issued in your area. (You can find that out here.) I've heard letter writing campaigns to IDEM can be effective, however one news report indicated IDEM hasn't yet turned down a CAFO in Indiana... just made some of them meet additional restrictions in some extreme cases.

You will definitely want to find out when the Public Meeting is going to be held at your local area Zoning Board. Residents will DEFINITELY want to hire an environmental lawyer to present your case against the operation.

Bottom line, a Zoning Board can stop a CAFO from coming into an area if there is enough evidence to support the fact that it can pose a problem. But then again, a lot will depend on how ethical and fair your Zoning Board really is. (Ours sucks, in my humble opinion.)

For an example of Zoning Board authority, I heard a rumor that one swine CAFO could not proceed in one location owing to a nursing home being located nearby.

Also, some larger groups may want to get involved to help you. For example, if you check the "Indiana 303(d) water report" for your area, and if the proposed CAFO is anywhere near a threatened or impaired water body, Sierra Club might get involved to help you.

I hope this helps.

My heart goes out to you. I wish you good luck. Keep me posted on how things go. Feel free to contact me.