Bonduelle dealing with a stinky situation in Tecumseh

Bonduelle logo. Image courtesy Bonduelle corporate website.

A vegetable processing plant has responded to resident complaints about a worse-than-usual odour.

Bonduelle Canada said Tuesday afternoon that it is working to resolve a strong, foul odour that has been picked up by residents surrounding its Tecumseh plant. The response comes after a Tecumseh resident began circulating a petition calling for the company and the town to correct the problem.

“I have lived near Bonduelle for 16 years and it has never been this bad,” read the petition posted by Jeff Sorrell at Change.org. “The whole neighborhood is fed up and the Town of Tecumseh seems to have no concern regarding the well being of its residents. The smell feels almost toxic to breathe in forcing us to have to spend more money while in the middle of a pandemic.”

A statement from the French company, which has its Canadian headquarters in Montreal, acknowledges the situation stinks, and that the issue is caused by a wastewater treatment basin.

“Wastewater is decontaminated by aerobic bacteria eating the organic contaminants during a process called lagooning. In winter, the lagoon is frozen and bacteria are dormant,” read the statement. “Since water has been stagnant for a long period of time when spring thaw occurs, we use aerators to release the contaminants and allow the bacteria to reach and start ingesting them. The opening of the lagoon can emit some odours, but usually only for a very short while.”

Bonduelle Vice-President of Operations Rob Anderson blames the stench on faulty aerators.

““The most plausible theory is that a malfunctioning of two of the seven aerators, caused this lingering odour issue, and we are focusing our efforts accordingly,” said Anderson. “We are working ceaselessly to solve this problem. If, as we hope, this is the reason for the current situation, the issue should be resolved by the end of the week. We are well aware that this situation is a source of inconvenience for the residents of Tecumseh and we apologize for that.”

The petition begun by Sorrell had at least 225 signatures on it as of Tuesday afternoon.