Source: Sherman Publications

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Pervasive smell invades Orion Township

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

December 28, 2011

Something smells in Orion Township.

Most reports of the curious stench that has plagued the Brown Road area suggest that it started sometime in late October or early November and that the musty smell is reminiscent of paint thinner. A posting on Lake Orion's Facebook page garnered around 80 comments from people familiar with the smell or concerned about it's existence.

The two most suggested culprits are the Eagle Valley Landfill and the General Motors Orion Assembly Plant, but officials from both organizations and the township have their ideas.

"We have been in compliance with all air permit limits and requirements and have been since we resumed production earlier in 2011," said the assembly plant's communications manager Kevin Nadrowski. "We're still investigating the claims though, after a call from a community resident. We're still in the early stages of investigation to determine where the odor is coming from, but Orion Assembly strives to continue to be a good neighbor to the people of Orion Township."

Officials from the landfill had similar sentiments and comments from Township Supervisor JoAnn Van Tassel seemed to exonerate the landfill. The township has been aware of the problem for some time and is working with Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality to isolate and solve the issue.

"It's not from Eagle Valley - they have done testing and my information indicates the smell is not coming from them - but it is possibly what they call an inversion factor caused by low flying clouds," said Van Tassel. "It could be trapping the air from the GM Orion Plant but it is important that do not know that for a fact. We have been working with the DEQ and one representative said that could be a possible source.

We've been looking into the problem since the calls started coming in."

Van Tassel admitted she has not smelled the stench personally, but also acknowledged she was rarely in the reported areas, generally east of M-24, in the Brown Road and Dutton portion of the township, but as far north as the Home Depot.

The DEQ is still requesting more information and Van Tassel urged people to contact them at (800) 292-4706.