Local Businesses React to Hormel's Plan to Eliminate Smell

Posted at: 02/16/2013 10:39 PM
Updated at: 02/19/2013 9:08 AM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News) -- Many people are on board with Hormel’s plan to eliminate the smell that comes from the plant. As we reported, it's going to cost Hormel about $25 million.

It's a smell that Austin residents know all too well.

"It's just very pungent," said Austin resident Marian Clennon.

Many agree that Hormel Foods does great things for the city, but they could go without stench that comes from the plant.

"It always depended on which way the wind went as to which end of town was affected," said Clennon.

Marian Clennon has lived in Austin for over 20 years.

"We were always told there's nothing that could be done so we just got use to it," said Clennon.

While the smell no longer bothers Clennon, she says out of towners tend to crinkle their nose.

"If somebody's visiting and there down on that end of town they'll ask what's that smell, we explain it's the plant," said Clennon.

"I mean it stinks a lot of the time," said Austin resident Sonya Dolan

People on Main Street can catch a whiff of the plant once and a while.

"There's maybe one day where it smells ok and that's when they're doing bacon," said Dolan

Some have a hard time imaging Austin without the odor.

"Can they get rid of the smell," asked one local hotel employee.

She says she hears about the Hormel smell from many customers.

"Mainly during the summer when it's really thick, a lot of people talk about it if their coming down the interstate on their way here," she said.

She went on to say that one hotel guest told her she plans on moving to Austin.

"She told me that they found some houses over in that area but they don't want to deal with the smell," she said.

Dealing with the smell is exactly what Hormel plans on doing, and Clennon thinks great things can come from it.

"Maybe something as simple as getting rid of an odor might be a huge thing in attracting people and business to Austin," said Clennon.

The odor control technology is expected to be put in place and be working by early summer. The money will also be used for other upgrades to the Austin plant.