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"It's a gagging stench:" Walworth County residents say stench from nearby business needs to go

WALWORTH COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A Walworth County Village has an odor problem. People who live there are dealing with an awful smell that's coming from nearby businesses. 

CBS 58 News first reported on this story last June. One year later, residents in Darien say that nothing has been done to stop the stink. Residents say they can't even open the windows on some days because it smells like spoiled milk and now that it's summer, they fear it's going to get worse.

"You lose your appetite, you can't even keep your windows open," said Gina Gramly, Village of Darien resident.

The stench even aimed the village a new nickname. 

"Dirty-Ann," Resident Joshua Wicyk said. "It's sad, it's a joke, but you don't want to think of your home that way." 

The smell is coming from Birds Eye, a food manufacturing facility, and Walter & Sons, a waste hauling facility. In November, Walter & Sons took action by covering a tank to stop the smell.

"To be honest since then we haven't had any issues," Wicyk said. 

However, residents say there are still issues with Birds Eye. At the latest Walworth County zoning meeting, Daniel Majorowicz, the Birds Eye Environmental Health and Safety Manager said they increased aeration in both of their lagoons and are working on reducing the amount of sludge in the water which should weaken the stench, but it will only get worse before it gets better.

"When you turn on the system, you will have an increase in odor," Majorowicz said. "Looking forward, I would say that increase in odor should diminish as the summer goes on."

Joshua Wicyk, who started a 'Stop the Stink' Facebook page, would like the company to do more. 

"I would like for it to not smell like waste water in my property and my home," said Wicyk.

He's encouraging his neighbors to take action too by filing complaints through the proper agencies. Some progress has been made and he hopes eventually their efforts will stop the stink.

"I love to have the windows open, to have the fresh air, well when I don't have the fresh air, they're closed," said Gramly.

Birds Eye sent the following statement to CBS 58 News, 


We continue to work with consultants on ways to continue to improve the situation, including additional filtration and aeration of the holding ponds. We are committed to being a good neighbor in the community and continuously look for ways to expand methods to improve the conditions

The Walworth County Zoning committee meets again July 19 and Birds Eye is expected to be there. The Town of Darien board members did not make themselves available for an interview Thursday.


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