El Paso

City: East Side food manufacturer out of compliance due to odor complaints

City East Side food manufacturer out...

EL PASO, Texas - Productos Real, a food manufacturing company that makes pork rinds, is out of compliance with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), a city official told ABC-7. 

This comes after numerous residents complained to the City of El Paso about the strong odor allegedly coming from the plant, located at 1100 Pendale Drive.

"We have a process, where if the public calls in with a complaint, we assign it to an investigator, and we go ahead and go out and investigate, and we check compliance against the state air quality rules," air quality program manager Karl Rimkus said. “We’ve followed up on the calls that we’ve received. We did document a nuisance, confirmed a nuisance – and issued a notice of violation to the facility management."

Rimkus said Productos Real was unable to comply within the time frame given to them by the City. The case was then referred to the enforcement division of the TCEQ in Austin.

LINK: TCEQ information on evaluating and documenting odor complaints

"There are certain requirements that they have to meet to install equipment – and so forth – to prevent the odors that leave the plant from becoming a nuisance," Rimkus said. "At this point, they still haven’t complied with that, and so we’re working through that process.”

ABC-7 went to Productos Real to speak with management about the on-going issue. Vice President Maricarmen Moncrief chose not to speak on camera, but she did say the company is working to be in compliance with the TCEQ. She said they will be installing equipment that will improve the quality of their waste water by February. She also said they will add an air scrubber before the summer. 

ABC-7 reached out to the TCEQ. They say the company was given an Agreed Order against them on November 8, 2016. Documents obtained by the ABC-7 I-Team reveal investigators from the TCEQ were in El Paso in June, 2014. They described the odors as "highly offensive, moderately strong, rancid."

Upon receiving the order, the documents state Productos Real had 30 days to submit a plan that outlines how the company will fix the air-quality issues. It's unclear how long the company has to fix these problems.

Residents who live near the area said it's a nuisance. 

 "It's a really bad smell coming in all the time. It's year-round too," Salvador Valdez said. "It smells like dead pig."

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