The South Coast Air Quality Management District has tentatively approved a plan by Liberty Vegetable Oil Co. in Santa Fe Springs to spend $250,000 to design and build a system to trap and clean plant odors that nearby Cerritos residents complain waft through their neighborhoods.
When conditions are right, homeowners in the area contend that they cannot leave their windows open at night or work in their yards, particularly on weekends, because of the foul odor from the Carmenita Road plant, a mile north of the Cerritos housing tracts. The company produces a vegetable oil and a feed supplement for livestock.
Under orders from the air quality district to either correct the problem or face fines or even closure, Liberty Oil has proposed building a new scrubber, much larger than its present one, in which residual odors from the manufacturing process would be sanitized and deodorized before being released into the atmosphere.
A Huntington Beach firm has been hired by Liberty Oil to build a prototype of the proposed scrubber. It will be tested at the plant early next year, and if the district is satisfied with the results, Liberty Oil will be given the go-ahead to build and install the larger scrubber. If all goes well, the permanent scrubber could be in place by mid May.