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North Denver neighbors sue Nestlé Purina over pet food plant smell

The lawsuit quotes one complaint made to CDPHE which says, "I would describe the smell as rancid. It’s like someone barfed in your back yard and then it baked in the sun…”
Denver Purina pet food plant
Posted at 12:48 PM, May 30, 2024

DENVER — Neighbors who live near the Nestlé Purina Petcare plant in north Denver filed a federal lawsuit alleging the smell from the plant not only affects their properties but also nearby parks, libraries and schools.

A stroll down Jess Valdez’s street in Denver’s Elyria-Swansea neighborhood is often cut short.

“That flag up there… it shows us the direction of the wind,” said Valdez, pointing to the flag flying on the roof of the Purina plant. “So that’s kind of our indication, ‘Hey go inside. It’s blowing your way. The smell is about to get there.'”

The smell Valdez is referring to is well-known in this part of north Denver.

“It’s like something that’s been expired and you take it out of your fridge and it’s got that pungent smell of meat,” said Lana Rodlin.

Two residents who live within a one-mile radius of the plant filed a class action lawsuit in federal court Tuesday over the smell.

The lawsuit cites several complaints reported to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. One reads, “I would describe the smell as rancid. It’s like someone barfed in your back yard and then it baked in the sun…”

According to the lawsuit, employees from the state health department measured air quality around the Valdez-Perry Library, which is on the other side of Interstate 70 from the plant, in November 2021 and found two instances where the air quality didn’t meet state standards.

That is a concern for Valdez, who wants to bring up his grandkids without having to worry about the air they’re breathing. He said it’s forced his family to spend more time indoors.

“Colorful Colorado and we’re not so colorful anymore,” said Valdez.

A member of Nestlé Purina’s corporate communications team said in a statement, “Purina is a proud member of the Denver community, and we’ve operated our York Street factory since 1930. Throughout this time, we have remained committed to being the best neighbor we can be, and that won’t change. Unfortunately, we cannot comment on the specifics of pending litigation.”




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