Metro Vancouver has reached a settlement with West Coast Reduction Ltd. to see the animal waste processing plant reduce the stench East Vancouverites have been dealing with for years.
The plant, located at the northern foot of Commercial Drive, processes animal waste, guts, fish heads, and feathers — heating them up, boiling off the water and some of the volatile compounds, and separating the remains into liquid fat and solid protein for sale.
Last year, West Coast Reduction had to renew their permit and Metro Vancouver asked for public input on the facility.
In June, Metro Vancouver and West Coast Reduction agreed to reduced testing for a shorter permit period of four-and-a-half years, and an increased dispersion speed from one of the plant's scrubbers.
The change in dispersion speed is expected to reduce the smell from the primary source Metro Vancouver believes causes the pungent odours, which permeate the eastside of Vancouver in the warmer months of the year.
"Dispersion itself doesn't actually treat the odours. But at the end of the day, if you can disperse it down to levels below what people can detect, that's good enough," said Ray Robb, environmental regulation and enforcement division manager with Metro Vancouver.
Public complaints about the smell vary from a hundred to several hundred annually.
"People would like to see us do a better job of essentially reducing the odour in their lives, or the unpleasant odour in their lives, so that's our job and that's what we try to do," said Robb.
Robb says the plant must introduce the changes by May 2018.
He says the company has already taken steps to lessen the smell over the years and reduce the impact zone.
Metro Vancouver will look at the permit again in a few years and seek further improvements.