Stink. Stench. Smell.
Whatever you call it, it’s back in West Garden Grove, with residents again blaming the nearby Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base.
“It’s like living on top of a dump when the smell kicks up,” said Jennifer Degner, whose front door sits less than 500 yards from the base. “It’s so bad I literally have to shut all my doors and all my windows.”
Back in 2009, the base was the source of a similar stench, Degner said.
At that time, a contractor, Agromin, was running a large composting operation. After scores of residents complained—many to the Garden Grove City Council–composting stopped. Now the contractor maintains the landscaping on the base and oversees a 250-acre organic farm.
Agromin (see logo) manager Bill Camarillo concedes the farm’s organic fertilizer is smelly when it’s first applied. But a farm has been on the base for some 30 years, so he’s not convinced that’s the culprit.
Still, he admitted that some farming snafus have caused a stink recently, like when ripe peppers were left in the field to rot. The company quickly cleaned up the rotting mess.
But some of the blame rests with Mother Nature, Camarillo noted.
“When things get wet they smell, and sometimes they don’t smell good,” he said.
After wet weather last December prompted several complaints, he brought out local agencies like the South Coast Air Quality Management District to assess the odor. But they didn’t smell anything, Camarillo said.
And while he hasn’t logged any complaints since then, he said he’s “very responsive when we do hear about something.”
The AQMD, on the other hand, has responded to six complaints since October 2012, sending out inspectors to take a whiff. But unlike in 2009, when the agency cited the operation, the outcry hasn’t reached a level where it can take action.
“Five of the complaints were from one individual,” AQMD spokesman Sam Atwood said of the recent calls. To take action, the agency would need to hear from six separate households on the same day.
Mike Beanblossom is one of those who has called the AQMD. He works from home, out of his garage, and feels increasingly frustrated by a lack of action to eliminate a stink he calls “unbearable.”
“They need to move, move it somewhere else,” he said. “Do we have to do a class action suit to get these guys to move or shut down?”
Residents can report odors by calling (562) 795-2090 and asking for the environmental officer.