Her children refuse to go outside when the odor is really bad, the high school youth group she leads opts to stay inside for their Wednesday evening gatherings, and Fries said she’ll avoid heading south toward the plant when she runs so she doesn’t get a coughing attack.
“When we moved to Mead, there was just a cattle smell, which in my mind is bearable. You get used to it after a while,” Fries said. “This you don’t get used to.”
Residents living as far away as Wahoo — about 7 miles to the west — say they, too, can get a whiff of the plant when the wind is blowing the right direction.
Dead and dying raccoons
A new delivery of AltEn’s byproduct left in a pile adjacent to Dyas’ property in January 2019 raised new concerns about the material sold to farmers to improve the condition of the soil.
Eric Nelson, who lives about a half-mile away from Dyas, witnessed a dozen or so raccoons dead or dying near the pile, which was situated about a football field away from the Upper Clear Creek.
“They couldn’t walk, couldn’t see, couldn’t stand up,” Nelson said. “They were in pain.”
A lifelong hunter and trapper, Nelson said he did not see any signs of distemper, a virus that infects raccoons’ breathing and digestion. These raccoons near the pile of soil conditioner, Nelson said, were “nice, big, fat, healthy raccoons.”