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Hubbard County woman's new neighbor flunks smell test

Brown piles of manure sit about 100 feet from the end of Dorothy Pohl's driveway off County Road 13 south of Nevis. She says the stench has driven her indoors, particularly on windy days. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

It was when the 15th truckload of manure arrived that Dorothy Pohl lost her patience.

It is one of the downsides to living in the country.

Across Hubbard County 13 100 feet from the end of her driveway, a neighboring farmer piled turkey manure in a field.

Prevailing west winds carry the scent right into her home.

"My Thanksgiving company won't be able to smell the turkey!" the visibly distraught 76-year-old said.

Pohl has the tanned face of someone who spends time outdoors.

"I love walking," she said. But the aroma of manure has driven her indoors lately.

"I support farming. I support farmers," she said.

Except when they leave a mountain - or a molehill - of manure in her neighborhood.

She called the Sheriff, the Environmental Services offices and others to no avail.

Her neighbors suggested lighting a scented candle to ward off the stench.

"There's 100 acres they could have spread it on!" she exclaimed.

Even more frustrating is that she can't do anything about it.

"In this particular case it doesn't appear there is any obvious violation(s) of state ordinances, at least the broader and more general statewide ordinances," said Dan Olson, public information officer for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, which looked into the matter.

"In many cases, counties will create additional local feedlot/manure handling ordinances but I don't believe Hubbard is one of those counties," he added. "I know Dorothy did contact her local county commissioners to see if the county had any issues with the situation she was experiencing.

"The feedlot staff mentioned that in talking with Dorothy it sounded like her main complaint had to do with odors. The inspectors said it is unlikely that odors from this source would trip an enforcement action based on odors as they need to be pretty intense as measured by a device that measures hydrogen sulfide or H2S levels at the property line," Olson said.

Dorothy claims the smell gags her, especially on a windy day. And she's frustrated that there's no apparent help available.

"The inspectors also said that a potential issue of concern with stockpiling manure is runoff into any waters of the state and so they were going to tell Dorothy that is something she can watch for and report on if it should occur (for example ditches carrying manure-laden water, contaminated runoff reaching a stream or river, etc.)," Olson said the MPCA staff advised.

Meanwhile, Pohl is almost dreading having company at a time when the place isn't so presentable.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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