WINCHESTER – In light of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) laying charges against Parmalat Canada relating to a sewage works Environmental Compliance Approval violation and discharging a containment into a natural environment in Winchester, North Dundas council has passed a by-law in hopes of improving Winchester residents’ living quality.

“These developments are somewhat of a surprise to many,” said North Dundas Mayor Tony Fraser. “Not very surprising about the smell and the many concerns from the residents.”

“As I understand, the engineering for them has been quite challenging but the reality is that we’ve got people living in awful conditions when the smell is around,” said deputy mayor Al Armstrong.

Parmalat applied to expand their existing Dissolved Air Flotator (DAF) building in an attempt to move some of the lagoon process inside a building, with new treatment systems, to reduce the current odours. The plan is double the size of the DAF building while closing some of the lagoons.

“This recommendation, I think, is a good step into getting that process moving forward,” said Fraser. “To allow Parmalat to put things in place, to stem the issues that are in front of them and in front of our community as it stands now.”

Fraser also mentioned that agreeing to move forward with this plan, there is hope to continue a strong, friendly relationship with Parmalat.

“This helps expedite the process,” said Armstrong. “We’re not going to pretend that the smell has not been just awful. It’s also disappointing to people who, after last year’s meeting that was well attended and spoke about their concerns, unfortunately, with the combination of the water and the spring season.”

More on the charges laid against Parmalat Canada and their development to reduce the smell in Winchester in July’s issue of the Eastern Ontario AgriNews.