Legal battle sparked over smell from Clinton Twp. composting company

Residents say foul odor coming from Uni-Dig impacting their quality of life

By Mara MacDonald - Reporter

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. - It's the smell so bad Clinton Township has been in an ongoing legal battle to make it stop.

About three years ago those who live in the Quinn and Gratiot area started complaining of a horrible smell.

"Everybody started going, 'Where is this smell coming from and what is it?' because it smelled like rotting corpses. It was bad, really bad," said Guy Brown.

Brown lives about a mile from the Uni-Dig composting facility and it has been identified as the culprit.

Clinton Township sued to make the company reduce the amount of compost on its site to combat the smell.

The company told Local 4 it's in compliance with the judge's order to reduce the amount of compost on the site but those around the site don't believe it, which means Clinton Township is back in court next week to put sanctions on the company.

"I will be in the front row with our attorneys and I will ask the judge to do one or all of three things: One, to fine them, possibly incarcerate them and then have someone else come in to remove what they haven't removed themselves," said Clinton Township supervisor Bob Cannon.

Complaints have been flowing into Cannon's office for years about the smell.

Uni-Dig told Local 4 they believe the lawsuit against them in wholly unfair and political. When Local 4 visited the site there was no stench emanating from it.

Neighbors said it's not an everyday thing but when it gets hot, humid or it rains the stench is overpowering and is ruining their quality of life.

The one thing everyone involved in the dispute does agree on is the need for Macomb County to revisit its solid waste plan. It hasn't been updated in 15 years and currently Uni-Dig is the only composting facility in the county.

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