Odor Lingers In Hopewell; Plant Works To Fix Issue

Hopewell residents say they’ve been putting up with an awful smell for days.

A piece of equipment at the Vireol Bio Energy ethanol plant broke over the weekend, and fumes started to seep out.

Plant officials say residents should not be concerned for their health.

“Basically the smell that’s emitted is residual corn, so it smells very much like a brewery or a bakery,” says Frank Parent, the CFO for the plant. “There is absolutely nothing toxic, nothing dangerous about what is being emitted from the facility.”

The equipment, which a plant officials referred to as an expunging joint, broke on Saturday. Some residents in Hopewell did not know where the scent was coming from.

“I wouldn’t even let the kids go outside. I don’t know what that smell is,” says Michele Simpson, a mother who lives in Hopewell.

Brian Steele, another Hopewell resident, was also concerned. “You can only take it in small doses. It’s not quite as bad as rotten eggs, but it’s close to it.”

According to plant officials, the Department of Environmental Quality has allowed the plant to continue its operations.

A spokesperson with the Department of Environment Quality has told 8News that the department has taken air samples and are waiting for the results.

Officials at the Vireol Bio Energy plant say the work to repair the equipment should be complete by Thursday.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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