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Copper Hill residents growing tired of ‘smelly’ biowaste coming from nearby plant

From Local 3 News: Polk County is home to the Ocoee River, a tourist attraction to outdoors enthusiasts nationwide.


As the county has grown, a biowaste plant has become a sore spot for some residents.


County Commissioners met Saturday afternoon to listen to concerns.


Residents are calling out Copperhill Industries LLC, a biowaste plant, saying the site may not be as environmentally friendly as it claims to be, and say they want the dumping of waste to stop.


“We may not be Nashville, and we may not be Chattanooga, but we will find a way to solve this problem, and if we have to take it to the courts, we will figure it out,” said one resident.


“These people have suffered enough with the Copper mines,” said another. ” It took many years to clear this up to clean the water up, and now we have stuff going into our water system in our backyard and starting all over again.”


Most complaints revolved around CopperHill Industries owner Buddy Haynes.


The company was founded in 2011 to make the Copper Basin Green again, using biosolids or treated sewage from a wastewater treatment plant in Chattanooga.


“If he does it and does it right, it’s a great program. I’ve said to many people it’s genius. It’s brilliant if he does it right,” said Lawrence Gale, Public Accountant. ” Is he doing it right? I don’t believe so.”


Haynes received a permit from the EPA and T-Dec to use those products.


In our interview last year, he said the company was aware of the foul odor and was working to address concerns.


I just wasn’t aware that odor was going to be such a problem, and we are now trying to correct that by moving the operation more in the back, blending it with wood chips, and not spreading or dealing with it when the wind’s blowing,” said Buddy Haynes, Intertrade Holding, Inc. Owner.


Residents now want the plant banned. A petition with more than 200 signatures aims to do just that.


We also learned the company may not be operating with proper permits.


The biggest concern for residents is the harm dumping biowaste has on the community.


“I would never put this stuff on my sheep pastures ever. I would never put it in my children’s playground. I would never put it in my yard or my garden,” said Martha Temple, Copper Hill resident.


Local 3 News attempted to contact Haynes for comment, but he has not responded.


June 27th is when Polk County commissioners will have the next meeting.


Commissioners say they want the EPA and T-DEC to be present.