Something In The Air In Ayer: Odor From Tofu Factory Impacting Neighborhood

AYER (CBS) — Neighbors say it smells like rotten eggs, or bad dairy.

That’s what neighbors told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker about the odor emanating from the Nasoya Foods plant off Westford Road in Ayer.

The smell coming from the plant, which makes tofu, has started to affect the nearby Mulberry Circle neighborhood.

“The frustration is only increased in the sense that we keep being told that they’re working on it, but it hasn’t changed,” said a neighbor named John.

smelly factory Something In The Air In Ayer: Odor From Tofu Factory Impacting Neighborhood

The odor in Ayer is coming from the Nasoya Foods plant. (Ben Parker/WBZ NewsRadio 1030)

Robert Pontbriand, Ayer’s Town Manager, said the odor has been going on for some time now–about a year.

“These neighbors have been more than patient over the last months as these odor events happen,” he said. “It’s a very thick, rotten egg-type of smell.”

Chris Hillman, chair of the Ayer Board of Selectmen, said he can’t even begin to describe the smell.

“I would say, rotten eggs times a thousand,” he said. “Very nauseating when it’s at it’s peak.”

Selectmen have been meeting about the issue, and the Department of Environmental Protection has been brought in, but so far, there’s been no resolution.

Nasoya admits it’s happening and tells us the stink is due to a byproduct of tofu production, hydrogen sulfide, which creates the rotten egg smell.

In a statement, the CEO Ross Gatta says: “We recognize there is a problem with periodic odors, and we apologize to our neighbors. The odor situation is unacceptable.”

But residents who have to live with it say that’s small comfort. “They are beyond frustrated because it continues to happen. They can’t use their backyards. They have to close their windows,” says Pontbriand.

But the company is taking action, and faces a state imposed deadline of Nov. 23 to present a solution that will end the problem once and for all. The State’s Department of Environmental Protection inspected the plant Wednesday. The DEP is working with Ayer to make sure the problem is permanently fixed. Nasoya says that should happen in the first half of the new year.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports

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