Residents express concern over odor


DARMSTADT, Ind. (WEHT)– Concern is growing over a stinky situation in Darmstadt and Northern Vanderburgh County. Darmstadt town officials say for years, there have been complaints of an odor radiating from Azteca Milling as a result of waste water the company has been dumping on its property.

Now there is word Azteca is looking for permission to dump even more water on recently acquired land. Opponents plan to fight the request.

“There used to be a turkey farm right off the road and the smell got so bad, that he ceased operation,” said John Blair, President of the Environmental Group Valley Watch.

He said he is hoping to learn more about a permit Azteca filed with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to dump more waste water on land it recently purchased.

“I’m hoping that IDEM will at least investigate the waste stream that they have and make sure that ground water is protected and the surrounding area is protected,” said Blair.

Azteca Milling sent Eyewitness News a statement saying the waste it is dumping is from its corn masa production facility and the waste only contains water, corn, and lime. Company official say it is safe. Some people say their nostrils beg to differ.

“The smell is very similar to a port a john on a very hot summer day that’s been busy,” explained Darmstadt Town Councilman, Ray Engler. He said he has been hearing concerns about a sewage like odor within a five mile radius of North High School.

Engler said he’s been battling Azteca’s odor for years, finally giving in and installing an air filter to keep the scent out of his home.

“It’s been really ramping up in the last few years to the point where we can’t be outside when the wind is coming out of the North. We have to go inside because the smell is just too intense,” Engler said. He fears the smell will worsen and he is encouraging concerned community members to let IDEM know how this stench is affecting them before the company is allowed to dump up to 30 million gallons of waste on its new property.

Azteca is located near North High School. Engler said parents of students have voiced concerns about the school being so close to the odor.

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(This story was originally published on November 23, 2020)

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