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South Carolina Plant Draws 17K Complaints for 'Noxious' Odor

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The New-Indy Containerboard factory in Catawba, SC

CATAWBA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina cardboard factory has found itself in the middle of a stinky situation as environmental regulators order it to lower emissions after receiving thousands of complaints relating to a “noxious,” rotten egg-like smell coming from the plant.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control ordered the New-Indy Containerboard factory in Catawba to check its regulations and equipment and decrease emissions of what the agency called a “noxious air contaminant” by mid-May, The State reported.

Residents have complained that the smell was wafting through nearby counties and some neighboring areas in North Carolina, even causing health issues such as nausea and headaches for some. The factory is located about 8 miles (13 kilometers) from the North Carolina state line.

The department said it logged approximately 17,135 complaints about the plant, a majority relating to the odor, since it started counting in February.

New-Indy has disputed that its operations are to blame, stating in an April 16 letter to the state director of environmental affairs that it hired an outside firm which found no chemical compounds on the premises that “would equate to intense odors,” The Charlotte Observer reported.

The Environmental Protection Agency contended its research shows the factory was emitting high levels of smelly hydrogen sulfide, and that wastewater, storage and a landfill on the grounds could contain other odor-producing sulfurs.