Thursday, June 27, 2013

Times-News: Idaho Town Doesn't Like What It Smells, Hears From Chobani

Posted By on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 9:45 AM

This morning's Twin Falls Times-News reports that city officials in the Magic Valley community of Hollister didn't hear what they were hoping for June 25 when they pressed for answers about acid whey coming from the nearby Chobani Yogurt plant.

The city of Hollister called a special town meeting, and approximately 40 people (from a population of 210) filled the local grange hall to see if they could get some answers about the acid whey—a byproduct from the Greek yogurt plant—and its disposal into a pond near 120 acres of public land owned by Hollister.

"In Idaho, roughly two-thirds of those farmers use [the whey] as a supplement to their livestock feed," Chobani spokeswoman Melissa Stagnaro told the Times-News earlier this month. "Approximately one-third is used as a natural, land-applied fertilizer, but only on farms that have the proper nutrient management plans and permits in place with the the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and Idaho Department of Agriculture."

The New York Post reported in May that the $2 billion Greek yogurt industry's whey problem was "a waste disposal nightmare."

The Times-News reports that a string of Hollister residents aired their grievances the night of June 25:

"It smells. It's going to seep into our drinking water, they said. And the traffic ... residents complained they hadn't gotten sleep in weeks. They said trucks pass by their tiny town all night long."

After listening to the complaints, Chobani official John Sneldon promised to suspend nighttime hauling of the whey transport operation.

In the meantime, Hollister residents were asked to keep track of time and day when they smelled odors or were bothered by excessive or loud truck traffic.

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