JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Action News Jax Investigates has learned a local fragrance factory is making operational changes and was fined by the City of Jacksonville ahead of results from a “stink study.”
Action News Jax first reported about neighbor complaints and lawsuits aimed at International Flavors and Fragrances on Lane Avenue on the Westside that date back years.
>>> STREAM ACTION NEWS JAX LIVE <<<
“Well, sometimes we get some smells,” Rosie from Riverside said.
For years, neighbors in Riverside, Murray Hill and other neighborhoods have raised a stink about the factory that produces ingredients for common household items like soap and toothpaste.
In 2021, Becker first reported about lawsuits, city cease and desist orders, and thousands of complaints about the factory.
RELATED: Action News Jax Investigates: ‘Vile, sickening odor’ in Jacksonville neighborhood
In one lawsuit, neighbors described the smell as a “vile, sickening odor” -- but change is in the air.
In an Action News Jax Investigation, Becker obtained a compliance plan issued by the city to stop the stench, which shows IFF has been fined $14,997 for “validated complaints” in “two issued citations.”
IFF had faced potential fines up to “$10,000 per day of violation” but the city had never collected a dime, until now.
INVESTIGATES: ‘Stink study’ suggests local fragrance factory is still not passing the smell test
“These things take a long time,” said Adam Hoyles, who is on the Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board.
The compliance plan also requires the following wastewater pond maintenance items to snuff out the smell, including:
- Maintain a floating hex-cover system on the surface of the pond
- Permanently install a pure oxygen diffusion system
- Upgrade oil/water separator that pretreats wastewater before it enters the pond
- Conduct an engineering study to determine options for improvement of the biological system
“They are not required,” Hoyles said, “but it’s expensive and that’s why they weren’t put in initially.”
The compliance plan is separate from a $125,000 odor study Becker first reported on in February 2022.
Read: JSO calls on off-duty officers to help answer dispatcher shortage
The city placed 13 so-called “stink meters” around Jacksonville to find the source of the smell. A final report is due out in the next few weeks.
Hoyles has already received a sneak peek at some of the results and said the software was promising but the hardware was a mixed bag.
“These are meters not normally mounted to a pole and in this case when they are left in the environment on a more permanent installation, they had a lot of problems with calibration,” Hoyles said.
[DOWNLOAD: Free Action News Jax app for alerts as news breaks]
IFF sent Becker this statement:
“In full cooperation with the City of Jacksonville, IFF has agreed to this plan, without any admission of responsibility or liability for the cited complaints. As a good community steward, IFF cares about the community, and preventing potential odor is very important to IFF. We’re committed to using best-in-class technologies and processes, and the elements of this plan are a continuation of that commitment.
“The IFF Jacksonville Plant uses various processes to prevent potential odors from leaving the facility, such as a vapor collection system and boilers to treat the air coming from the plant’s equipment. Our Environmental Health and Safety team continuously monitors plant operations to prevent odors from leaving the facility. This plan is completely separate from the ongoing odor study commissioned by the City of Jacksonville. The City’s study includes odor monitoring of several other facilities located closer to Murray Hill and the surrounding neighborhoods. IFF remains interested in the outcomes of the concluded study and learning about when it will be presented to the community.”
[SIGN UP: Action News Jax Daily Headlines Newsletter]
“Everybody needs to follow regulations, end of story,” Rosie said.
Currently, three neighbors are also suing IFF. A nuisance lawsuit was dismissed last September, but a negligence complaint is still being litigated.
Click here to download the free Action News Jax news and weather apps, click here to download the Action News Jax Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Action News Jax live.