Vernon rendering plants ordered to reduce smell affecting communities nearby

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The South Coast Air Quality Management District voted unanimously to do something about the stench of rotten meat that has plagued nearby neighborhoods due to rendering plants in Vernon. (KABC)

The South Coast Air Quality Management District voted unanimously to do something about the stench of rotten meat that has plagued nearby neighborhoods due to rendering plants in Vernon.

The areas impacted by the smell include Boyle Heights, Maywood and Commerce, among others.

Monsignor John Moretta brought students from Resurrection Catholic School to Friday's meeting.

"This is a vote that should have been done years ago, years ago, decades ago," Moretta said.

The board listened to complaints and all approved to do something.

"I can certainly imagine that living next to that and breathing that day after day is a true burden and affects the quality of life," board member Judith Mitchell said.

Within 90 days, five rendering plants must begin new practices that include covering incoming trucks, washing outgoing trucks before they leave the plant and limiting the time animal parts are stored outdoors.

Within three years, all five plants must be fully indoors to prevent odors from escaping.

"We will be very happy. Very, very happy," Boyle Heights resident Montserrat Akopoff said.

But not everyone is happy about the changes. The five rendering companies have been fighting the effort for years, saying most of the entities have been in the area since before the residents.

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