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Louisville changes odor regulations following agreement with Swift Pork Company

A truck carrying hogs drives toward the Swift Pork Company in Louisville, Kentucky.
Ryan Van Velzer
A truck carrying hogs drives toward the Swift Pork Company slaughterhouse in Louisville, Kentucky.

The board overseeing air quality in Louisville unanimously voted to change the city’s odor regulations following a mediation agreement with the Swift Pork Company.

The Swift Pork Company in Butchertown has agreed to pay more than $44,000 in fines for violating dozens of regulations designed to minimize odors.

As part of that agreement, Louisville’s Air Pollution Control District (APCD) decided to revise citywide odor regulations. The words in bold are the proposed changes:

“No person shall emit or cause to be emitted into the ambient air such quantities of air contaminants or other material that creates an objectionable odor beyond the person’s property line. An odor will be deemed objectionable when documented investigation by the District includes, as a minimum: observations on the odor's nature, intensity, duration, and location, and evidence that the odor causes substantial injury, detriment, nuisance, or annoyance to any considerable number of persons, or to the public.”

  • “Such quantities of air contaminants or other material” changed from “any substance”
  • “Substantial” added before the word “injury”
  • “Any considerable number of” added before the word “persons”

APCD says the changes help city rules conform with state law, though at least one environmental lawyer has said the rules will make it more difficult to hold polluters accountable.

Regulators say Swift didn’t draft the proposed revisions, but supported them.

The Air Pollution Control Board that voted for the changes is made up of private citizens appointed by the mayor and approved by Metro Council.

Ryan Van Velzer is the Kentucky Public Radio Managing Editor. Email Ryan at rvanvelzer@lpm.org.

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