What the smell? Little Valley residents scream about foul odors

ST. GEORGE – Something smelly this way comes; that is, if you live in the growing Little Valley community of St. George where the age-old maxim, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream” is taking on new meaning as residents are subjected to a foul odor during parts of the day – a stench confirmed to emanate from a nearby ice cream plant.

“It smells like dirty garbage cans, like a dump. You really can’t describe it,” Little Valley resident Tony Chambers said Wednesday.

Sign welcoming drivers into Little Valley, one of St. George’s fastest growing areas, St. George, Utah, Aug 23, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Chambers first noticed the smell Saturday evening while outside playing a game of cornhole, and it has stunk each day since.

“It has not been a pleasant four or five days around the neighborhood,” he said.

The source of the smell, which has also been described as “rank,” “putrid” and “horrendous” by other Little Valley residents has been confirmed to originate from the Dean Foods ice cream plant located in the Fort Pierce Industrial Park nearby.

The stench is related to the plant’s waste water treatment processes, said Reece Smith, Dean Foods corporate communications director.

“We are aware of (the smell) and are working on it,” Smith said. “This is a priority for us.”

Dean Foods was made aware of the issue, in part, through a number of Little Valley residents sending the company emails and messages over Facebook, she said.

The Dean Foods ice cream plant in St. George, Utah, Aug. 23, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“It is seriously the worst smell and has made it so we are currently unable to enjoy spending time outside,” one Little Valley resident wrote on Dean Foods Facebook page Tuesday. “We would love if you would take care of this issue asap so we can again enjoy spending time outside.”

The smell appears to be at its worst in the morning, and while fading out during the day, it comes back in the evening, much to the offense of area residents’ nasal cavities.

“You can’t even go outside,” Chambers said.

“The air in the valley has been very dense (thick) and is holding the odor close to the ground up to a mile from the property, especially early in the morning,” Dean Foods said in a response to Little Valley residents posting their complaints on Facebook. “The smell dissipates as the day heats up, but by then has found its way into neighboring AC units. We have internal and external resources involved in the solution and are trying to remedy it as quickly as possible.”

Among those external resources is a water service crew from the city of St. George, Marc Mortensen, the city’s support services director, said, and added the city is quite aware of the issue.

A neighborhood in the Little Valley area of St. George, Utah, Aug. 23, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“We’ve been reassured by Dean Foods they’re doing everything possible to address the situation in a timely manner,” Mortensen said.

Dean Foods representatives will also be meeting with city officials to discuss the situation next week, he said.

Unpleasant odors aside, Mortensen said Dean Foods has been a good corporate partner of the city and employs many residents.

“We want to be good neighbors,” Smith said, and reiterated the company is working on the issue and understands it is an inconvenience for those in the range of the atrocious aroma.

For the time being, Dean Foods has asked for patience as it works to fix the odor issue.

Dean Foods is one of the nation’s largest processors and direct-to-store distributors of fluid milk marketed under more than 50 local and regional dairy brands and private labels. The company also employs approximately 17,000 people in 70 plants spread across the United States.

The Dean Foods ice cream plant in St. George resides at the former location of the Blue Bunny ice cream plant that closed in 2014.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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  • Who August 24, 2017 at 8:52 am

    While we’re at it, let’s ask Sunroc to do something about the enormous amount of dust they create.

  • Caveat_Emptor August 24, 2017 at 9:04 am

    At least the folks in Little Valley have identified the source and have a commitment to correct the air quality problem.

    The homeowners who live along Washington Fields Road, and numerous surrounding subdivisions, are stuck with the organic stink from the cattle fattening operation for the foreseeable future. It was especially ironic during the Parade of Homes this year……..It seemed like the farmer went out of his way to stockpile the organic by-products of the operation along his east boundary…….

    • Mr. W August 24, 2017 at 10:14 am

      Buyer beware…I like your screen name. Should have taken your own advise when deciding it would be fun to buy a house in a cute little farming community.

  • Who August 24, 2017 at 10:03 am

    So,, you build a house in what has been farmland since Dixie was founded and complain about far smell???!!!

    • Real Life August 24, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Anyone who has been unlucky enough to smell this can tell you it’s way worse than just cow manure.

      • comments August 24, 2017 at 3:47 pm

        considering it’s a dairy facility, I’m assuming it’s rotting milk?

  • Mr. W August 24, 2017 at 10:11 am

    “Chambers first noticed the smell Saturday evening while outside playing a game of cornhole, and it has stunk each day since.”
    I hate when playing cornhole leads to a fowl smell…

  • comments August 24, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    They have every right to pump their filth and stink into the air. It’s called FREE MARKET CAPITALISM. You whiners have no right to interfere in THE FREE MARKET. All you whiners must be SOCIALISTS or COMMUNISTS. Don’t you people respect THE FREE MARKET?!

  • hiker75 August 24, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    I did not think anyone cared about environmental issues anymore.

    • comments August 24, 2017 at 3:46 pm

      Seems they only care when they’re affected very directly. Everything else is… out of site, out of mind. It is too bad it’s that way. Too many right-wing have this mentality of being totally unconcerned with environmental issues… until a problem creeps right up to their backyard. Then all of a sudden it’s a huge concern. I believe it’s mostly due to self-involvement and ignorance, or simply not caring.

  • ladybugavenger August 24, 2017 at 7:53 pm

    I find it odd that it took residents to complain for the plant to do anything (at least that’s what it appears to be) If they employee people then didn’t the employees smell it? Of course they did, but no one listens to employees lol

  • utahdiablo August 24, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    If you thinks this “stinks”, just wait a few more short years until the Greed factory adds another 200,000 residents to your local roadways and highways….and darkens your once blue skies to a purple haze

  • knobe August 25, 2017 at 8:05 am

    Tragically this state is controlled by predator businessmen who seek to avoid any rules about clean air & clean water .
    They sing the ‘I can do ANYTHING’ I want with my property’ and
    the community at large is too spineless to elect leaders who will support the residential community .

    The concept of doing ‘whatever you want’ is only valid if ‘whatever IT is’ does Not impact your neighbors .
    If however the activities Adversely impact the neighbors air & water Or generates excessive noise then
    Residents deserve commissioners and other representatives who will take action on their behalf .
    Currently most things are Bent in favor of the predator and few officials act to protect home owners .

    Until the county and state start valuing residents & requiring better pollution controls ,
    Utah will remain a low value , back water state for most people who buy property here .

    • comments August 25, 2017 at 11:19 am

      agree completely about predator businesses. But like I said earlier things like this is just “the free market” in action. Why should gov’t be regulating businesses and interfering in their right to FREE MARKET CAPITALISM? That’s a question for you r-wing loons and nutters out there.

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