New Brunswick

Richibucto lobster-shell processor explores new way to eliminate smell

The odour at Omera Shells Inc., in Richibucto will mostly be gone once a new chimney is installed, among other fixes, a company official says.

Company needs time to get fix in place, says sales director of Omera Shells Inc.

Omera Shells Inc. is a five-minutes drive from a residential area in Richibucto and residents are tired of the smell. (Pierre Fournier/CBC)

The odour at Omera Shells Inc., in Richibucto will soon be gone once a new chimney is installed and an antidote is added to combat the smell, a company official says.

Fernand Gaudet, sales director for Omera Shells, says the chimney will help dissipate​ the smell from the factory, a crustacean shell-drying plant that has been operating for two years. 

The plant grinds, heats and processes old lobster shells and shrimp skins, turning the remains into powder. The powder is later exported to Asia for use in the bio-medical industry and as a fertilizer.

Local people have complained about the odour, but Gaudet said ​​the smell will practically be eliminated after a company hired by Omera identifies "what molecule is causing the smell, so an antidote can be prescribed."

Smell down 75%

Repeated air tests in the plant, outside it and throughout the town of Richibucto will help to show the improvements,. he said. 

"In my opinion, and this is my opinion, we have already improved it as much as 75 per cent, but it seems that the people are less tolerant," Gaudet said. 

Gaudet said the former owner closed the company because he was sensitive to the complaints. 

"We added a scrubber, which we are making modifications again this year, which brought the smell down." 

Mayor senses improvement

Richibucto Mayor Roger Doiron said the town council has been meeting with the company about the issue.

"It's improved, there's still some smell but there's an improvement from last year."

Doiron said everyone is anxious for the company to get things in place that will help reduce the odour. 

"We hope they get really fast results." 

With files from Shift