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Purina Gets Tax Break, Agrees To Decrease Flagstaff Plant's Stink

The Flagstaff City Council has voted to extend a tax break to Nestle-Purina. This is in exchange for the company installing technology that will stem odor emitting from its plant, a few miles from downtown.

The Arizona Daily Sun reports the tax break is worth $800,000, and the city council’s unanimous vote also extends Purina’s lease until October 2017.

Purina has been in Flagstaff for more than four decades, but its plants’ potent pet food aroma has become more of an issue in recent years.

This summer, company officials told the Flagstaff City Council they’d found a way to reduce the smell by 50 percent within four years of construction. As part of the agreement with the city, Nestle will also have to designate a portion of its property as an easement of Flagstaff’s sprawling urban trail system.

The City of Flagstaff has this statement about its longtime relationship with Purina:

Nestle-Purina PetCare has been a community partner since making Flagstaff its home in 1975 Their location was on the outskirts of town when they began their operations. Since then, the community has grown towards and around the plant and their production has expanded. As the trend of development continues, the City and Nestle—Purina took a proactive approach to minimize the odor impacts of production. To be clear, Nestle-Purina meets all its regulatory requirements and operates in a responsible way. The city does not have any formal complaints on record from the surrounding community. However there are days when the odors from production are present and there have been numerous informal discussions about how the odor can impact residents and businesses in the area. The current approach consolidates the exhausts removing some moisture and then dispersing the exhaust higher into the atmosphere thereby diluting the exhausts. Based on local environmental conditions, this approach is expected to cut the perceived odor by 50% in the immediate surroundings where the odor is experienced most.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been modified to reflect the expected reduction of odor for Purina's Flagstaff plant. The company's most recent estimate is a reduction of 50 percent.

When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.