Important to get to bottom of Walnut Grove smell issue

Thanks to Metro Vancouver and the Township of Langley for responding to the concerns of the residents of Walnut Grove

Editor: I’m writing to respond to the letter published in The Times Feb. 12, headlined “Metro trying to track down source of smell.” As a resident of the Walnut Grove area, I have experienced a foul odor on numerous occasions over the last few months.

The letter states that Metro Vancouver has made improvements at the plant to minimize odours and, based on recent investigations, staff believe the odours are unlikely to be from the wastewater treatment plant. As someone who lives in Walnut Grove and frequently travels over the Golden Ears Bridge, I would say —  based on the high concentration of odour in the area around the plant — that the facility which may be causing the odour is in close proximity to the plant.

If the odour is similar to that of a waste treatment plant, isn’t it likely that the odour is a by-product of animal waste?

I do not believe there are any animal rendering plants in the area but there may be the storage of manure. I recently read an article that stated that manure that was left uncovered in large spread out piles will eventually decompose and that this version of composting creates unpleasant odours, if there is not enough air reaching the inside of the pile.

It is also my understanding that the decomposition of manure can produce four gases — hydrogen sulphide, ammonia, methane and carbon dioxide, and at high concentrations may pose a health threat. This may be a concern for those that either work or live in close proximity to the origin of the odour.

In the letter, Simon So goes on to say “The northwest portion of Langley Township contains many industrial and agricultural operations that emit strong odours, making it difficult to pinpoint a specific source.”

I am confident the majority of residents and those people working in the Walnut Grove area would be more than willing to volunteer their time to help Metro Vancouver and the Township of Langley in their continuing investigation. With spring and summer just around the corner, it is imperative that we identify the source and make whatever changes are necessary to eliminate the odour.

My thanks to Metro Vancouver and the Township of Langley for responding to the concerns of the residents of Walnut Grove and helping us to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.

John Physick,