Birds Eye Foods in Darien

The Birds Eye Foods plant, W8880 County Road X, town of Darien, has been the target of neighbor complaints for years about foul odors in the area, but state environmental regulators say odor is not an issue in the new permit proposal. (File photo/Regional News)

DARIEN — State environmental regulators will take public comments Oct. 2 about the Birds Eye Foods plant that has long been a source of industrial odors that trouble neighbors.

The state Department of Natural Resources has scheduled a public hearing for 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Darien Village Hall, 24 N. Wisconsin St.

Anyone from the public will have a chance to express their opinions about the Birds Eye plant and about whether the state should issue a new wastewater discharge permit for the facility.

Neighbors who have complained about the plant’s foul odors requested the public hearing so state regulators can receive public input before deciding on the permit renewal.

The state permit is reviewed every five years.

Birds Eye operates a food processing plant at W880 County Road X in the nearby town of Darien.

Neighbors and local officials have complained for years about foul odor emanating from the plant. Birds Eye officials have pointed to the factory’s wastewater as a possible source of odors.

The state permit allows Birds Eye to store wastewater in lagoons and also to spray wastewater sludge on nearby fields as a disposal method.

Earlier this year, Birds Eye reported leaks that had been discovered in one wastewater lagoon, leaking up to 500 gallons a day, most of which officials said was being captured in a catch basin.

State regulators have said the new five-year permit, as proposed, does not set any new requirements for Birds Eye to control its odor problems. The state generally handles a factory’s odor issues through air pollution controls, not wastewater.

After the Oct. 2 public hearing, the DNR will decide whether to approve the new Birds Eye wastewater permit as proposed.