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Rendering Plants in Vernon

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BACKGROUND
Rendering facilities process animal by-products collected from butcher shops, meat processing plants and supermarkets into usable materials for the manufacturing of soaps, cosmetics, oils and feed supplements. Examples of facilities that send animal remains include animal shelters and local government agencies. Remains are processed and exported for other uses such as fertilizer.

There are five rendering facilities in the City of Vernon:

  • Baker Commodities Inc. (“Baker”)

  • Coast Packing Co. (“Coast”)

  • Darling Ingredients Inc. (“Darling”)

  • Legacy By-Products LLC (“Legacy,” formerly D&D Disposal Inc. dba West Coast Rendering Co.)

  • Smithfield Packaged Meats Corp ("Smithfield," formerly Clougherty Packing LLC dba Farmer John).

In 2017, South Coast AQMD adopted Rule 415, which requires rendering facilities to implement specific odor mitigating measures such as staging materials in permanent total enclosures, cooking or storing raw materials within four hours of receipt and other actions to reduce odors in the communities located near these facilities. 


PERMIT REQUIREMENTS

Rule 415 also requires rendering facilities to submit permit applications for the installation of permanent total enclosures, including wastewater treatment operations, raw material receiving areas and raw material grinding and cooking operations. Once a Permit to Construct is issued, a facility would normally have 12 months to complete the installation. The necessary permit applications, including two for Baker, were submitted and permits were issued. Permits contain conditions that must be met that help ensure compliance with rule requirements.

The four facilities that require enclosures obtained extensions as allowed under the rule. Coast is exempt because its installation does not process enough material to meet throughput thresholds. Darling has completed installation of the permanent total enclosure, while Baker, Smithfield and Legacy are still within the allowed timeframe to install enclosures at their facilities.

Summary of Rule 415 Permit Timeline for Vernon Rendering Plants

Facility (ID #)

Rule 415 Control Deadlines

Compliance Summary

Permit to Construct Issuance Date

Due date to Enclose Wastewater Treatment Operation

Due Date to Enclose Raw Material Receiving Area

Due date to Enclose Raw Material Grinding/Cooking Operations

Date of Most Recent Full
Compliance Inspection*

Baker (800016) – Two Plants:

8/12/21

  • Main Plant

3/10/20

3/9/22

  • J&M (Backup) Plant

4/23/20

4/22/22

Coast (13126)

N/A – exempt pursuant to Rule 415(l)(3)

3/13/19

Darling (63180)

8/8/19

N/A**

8/7/21**

8/12/21

Legacy (192519)***

12/8/19

7/30/21

10/25/21

9/30/22

6/2/21

Smithfield (187885)

11/25/20

N/A****

11/24/22

12/22/20

*Full compliance inspections (also known as Equipment List Inspections) do not include partial inspections or site visits conducted during complaint response.

**Darling does not have wastewater treatment operations. Enclosure and control systems for raw material receiving, grinding, and cooking are currently in place at the facility.

***Legacy is presently under a Stipulated Order for Abatement, and the listed due dates were developed in proceedings before the South Coast AQMD Hearing Board.

****Smithfield is exempt from enclosing its wastewater treatment operations due to dilution, as set forth in Rule 415(l)(2)(A).


COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT

There are two different types of notices South Coast AQMD issues to facilities:

  1. Notice to Comply (NC): A written method to indicating a minor violation of a South Coast AQMD rule or requirement has occurred, or a request for information from a business during the inspection process in order to obtain information necessary to determine the facility’s compliance status.

  2. Notice of Violation (NOV): Used to inform a business that it is out of compliance with applicable South Coast AQMD rule requirements, permit conditions or legal requirements, or with applicable state or federal air pollution regulations and may result in fines or penalties for the owner or operator.

After the adoption of Rule 415, South Coast AQMD staff conducted on-site inspections at all five rendering facilities in the area to evaluate compliance with rule requirements. Brief highlights of the findings during those inspections are listed below.

South Coast AQMD has also received complaints about odors from local community members and continues to respond and conduct inspections to ensure compliance with all agency rules and requirements.

Baker Commodities: A Notice to Comply (NC) was issued identifying issues with cracked asphalt in receiving areas and improper signage. Both were corrected by the facility. Four Notices of Violation (NOVs) were issued for failure to process raw materials within the required timeframe in Rule 415, with the most recent NOV issued following an odor event in June 2021.

Smithfield: An NC was issued due to incomplete recordkeeping, which was corrected by the facility. Following a large odor event in January 2020, an NOV was issued to Smithfield for Public Nuisance under South Coast AQMD Rule 402 and the California Health & Safety Code.

Legacy (formerly D&D Disposal): Two NOVs were issued to the facility (under prior ownership) for failure to repair asphalt in receiving areas, failure to process raw materials in a timely manner and other violations.

Since January 2017, South Coast AQMD has issued 21 NCs and 26 NOVs to rendering facilities in the City of Vernon and Los Angeles. The table below indicates the total number of NCs and NOVs issued to each rendering facility. 

Notices Issued from 1/1/2017 to 8/31/2021

Facility Name

Total number of NCs Issued

Total Number of NOVs Issued

D&D DISPOSAL INC,WEST COAST RENDERING CO

4

8

DARLING INGREDIENTS INC.

8

4

SMITHFIELD PACKAGED MEATS CORP

4

3

BAKER COMMODITIES INC

5

11

 

For more information on the details of each notice issued, click on each facility link in the table above to redirect to F.I.N.D., our online facility information detail system.

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