Peabody residents file suit due to odor from nearby gelatin plant

Peabody residents file suit due to odor from nearby gelatin plant

PEABODY, Mass. — Residents living near a gelatin plant in Peabody have filed a class-action lawsuit claiming odors coming from the plant have made living in the neighborhood unbearable.

The lawyer representing the neighbors suing the plant noted complaints from 55 different households all saying the same thing: that the odors coming from the plant have drastically impacted their lives.

“It’s so bad out here that none of us can have people over,” said Nanette Gardner of Peabody, who likens living across the street from a gelatin plant to living in a morgue. “I did nursing for a long time, and it smelled like burned flesh or a morgue would smell.”

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Now two of her neighbors have filed a class-action lawsuit against the Rousselot plant.

It details dozens of complaints and also states that the company was issued a cease and desist in 2018 because of the odors. They were ordered to come up with an odor mitigation plan.

“They cut it down, but you can still smell it once in a while,” Gardner said. “Like in the summertime I can’t keep my windows open, that’s how bad it is.”

Residents told Boston 25 News that the company has been holding meetings to discuss issues.

“It’s pretty strong, it can be strong most of the time at night I notice,” said Ashley Giardina of Peabody.

They were told at past meetings that the odors were caused by the plant’s wastewater management system, then that other equipment malfunctions were to blame.

“I would say the summer with the heat has the highest scent to it,” Giardina said. “The winter hasn’t been so bad but in the summertime, you can definitely smell the gelatin or whatever chemicals they are using.”

Rousselot told Boston 25 News that they have been working with state and local agencies to make sure they are following all regulations. They gave us a statement that said in part:

Over the last few years, Rousselot has also made numerous modifications to its Peabody facilities, including projects specific to air emission quality. While Rousselot does not discuss the details of litigation matters, it is important to understand that Rousselot denies the allegations in the complaint filed in Essex County and will take all necessary measures to defend itself and protect its reputation in the community.

Anyone living within one mile of the plant can join the class action, which includes about 7,000 people.