What is being done to stop the stench from a powdered egg plant in Adrian?

Inedible egg-drying facility sells product to pet food brands

ADRIAN, Mich. – People living in Adrian said a factory is making the city smell like dead chickens and rotting eggs.

There have been around 400 complaints made against the powdered egg manufacturing plant run by Crimson Holdings, LLC. The company has received multiple violations from the city and the state’s air quality control division.

The company purchased the building from Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) and turned it into an inedible egg-drying facility to sell powdered eggs to pet food brands over a year ago.

The stench that comes from the factory has been referred to as “the smell of death.” People living and working in Adrian have been dealing with the foul smell since the factory opened.

'It smells like something thing is dead out there'

Adrian is a small town where everyone seems to know each other and parents send their kids to the school they went to. The local coffee shop is the place to be in the morning, but according to locals the stench that comes from the factory has changed the atmosphere.

“There’s people that are coming in and saying that it smells like something is dead out there,” barista Martina Luce said.

Delivery driver Jacob Madrid said the stench is there every time he passes the plant. “I’ve heard they’ve even been reprimanded for it,” Madrid said.

Madrid is right. The company has faced multiple violations. One from April 7, 2023, showed that an inspector showed up to follow up “on ongoing complaints that were received concerning odors coming from this facility.”

According to the report, EGLE air quality division staff verified that the odors were a violation. EGLE district supervisor Scott Miller said the closer you get to the facility, the stronger the smell is. EGLE has received nearly 400 complaints in the past year.

The PDF below shows violations from March 28, 2023, and April 7, 2023:

'It smells like dead chickens and rotting eggs'

Mechanics and the owners at Continental Service in Adrian said working down the street from the plant can be a challenge.

“Some of the guys complain that it affects, like, their throats. Makes them feel, like a raw sore throat,” co-owner of Continental Service Taressa Morton said. “It smells like dead chickens and rotting eggs.”

Adrian city manager Greg Elliot said while he appreciates the two dozen jobs the plant brought, he is upset about the stench.

“I’ve used the term ‘smells like death’ in the past,” Elliot said. “Probably the worst odor I’ve ever smelled coming out of there on a daily basis.”

Joe Garland has lived in Adrian for 42 years. He said he can’t enjoy his backyard anymore because the odor from the plant makes it unbearable.

When will this get fixed?

Crimson Holdings’ chief operating officer Chad Benson spoke with Local 4 over Zoom.

“When’s the last time you were down there?” Karen Drew asked.

“Probably about a month and a half ago,” Benson said.

“I was there a few weeks ago and it stunk,” Karen Drew said.

Benson said they have been working with multiple civil and engineering companies in the area to create a plan to put a scrubber in. He also said the factory has installed a new stack in an effort to mitigate the stench, but it wasn’t a complete solution.

“With all due respect, you’re giving a lot of reasons why your company is running into roadblocks. But that’s your job, that’s your responsibility. You came into this town and this town now is suffering. So, you know, it really does fall on you,” Karen Drew said.

“I don’t think we’ve deflected any responsibility from it. We’re doing everything we possibly can do to get this done,” Benson said.

“These people have been waiting for a year and this is their community, this is their backyards. When will this get fixed?” Karen Drew asked.

Benson said that “Given the general nature of the timeline, you’re probably looking at nine months.”

Nine months.

Factory to fight limited hours rule in court

Benon said that contractors and poor communication with the city is, in part, to blame and he is frustrated that the plant is now only allowed to operate at night.

The city of Adrian issued an order limiting hours of operation at the facility to 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. Crimson wants to be able to operate during the day, and the city plans to fight them on that. A hearing to discuss the issue is scheduled for May 2, 2023.

Crimson argues that it needs more hours to operate so it can find a solution to the stench. The city said the company needs to find a solution first and then they can operate longer hours. A judge will make the final decision.

Currently, the company is trying some ways to neutralize the smell. Then they want to bring in a scrubber, which is expected to help eliminate the foul odors. But that will take more land and more money, according to the company.

In the meantime, the city is worried about residents. The city is also worried about recruiting students to Siena Heights University, which isn’t far from the plant. They said the odor is turning away potential students.

The document below was provided by Crimson Holdings and lists the steps the company has taken to mitigate the stench:

Residents can submit concerns directly to the company at crimsoncares.com

About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.