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Foothills area feedlot odour complaints spur inspections

82 complaints about strong smells from Rimrock Feeders have prompted Natural Resources Conservation Board to conduct site inspections.
WW-Feedlot
The NRCB reports it has received 82 odour-related complaints against the Rimrock Feeders feedlot this year. (Western Wheel File Photo)

Feedlot regulators have carried out inspections at Rimrock Feeders after receiving numerous complaints about strong smells in the area.  

Janet Harvey, with the Natural Resources Conservation Board (NRCB), said in a statement to the Western Wheel that as of Aug. 3, the regulatory agency has received 82 odour-related complaints against the feedlot this year.

“The majority of these complaints were submitted in July of this year, likely due to the heat and rainfall experienced in the area,” Harvey said. 

Inspectors have visited the feedlot, located about six kilometres west of High River in Foothills County, and are working with the feedlot operator to find solutions to the odour issues.

Early findings suggest catch basins at the feedlot are the main source of the strong and pungent odour, Harvey said, and the NRCB is early in the process of investigating.

The NRCB is responsible for regulating confined feeding operations in Alberta.

"Inspectors are currently working with the operator to try different catch basin management practices to assist in reducing the odour frequency and offensiveness," she said.

NRCB inspectors spoke with most complainants and assessed odours during the day, the evening and at night, with people reporting the smell is strongest in the early morning and late evening hours. 

The regulator will recommend different management practices if initial efforts to dull the smell are unsuccessful, Harvey said.

Rimrock Feeders opened in 2019, with a capacity of up to 35,000 cattle, on the former Western Feedlots site. 

The opening was celebrated by High River and Foothills County officials for the economic impact and job creation it would bring to the area.