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Unbearable Smell Forcing Boyd Residents Inside

BOYD (CBS 11 NEWS) - Spring is in the air, but in one North Texas community, that's not necessarily a good thing. Residents in Boyd are organizing to fight a smell they say gets so bad at times that they stay captive inside their homes.

Inside his woodshop, with sawdust flying, and the windows closed, Don Dixon can still smell it. At first, he thought it was a dead animal from a nearby farm. Sometimes he burns a candle, or hopes the smell from a varnish will be enough to drown it out.

His neighbor Bill DeGan says he works through it, but it's unlike anything he's ever smelled.

"I can handle cow manure, horse manure, dog manure...we move it around here all the time...but that is something, pretty strong," DeGan said.

Residents have tracked the smell to an unassuming pasture on FM 730, a few miles north of Boyd. It is the fertilizer they learned that is causing the stink. It comes from Fort Worth's water treatment plant. Bio solids left over after the treatment process are reused as natural fertilizer.

Renda Environmental has contracted with the city since 1991 to spread the sludge. No one from Renda returned calls for comment Monday. The company website however says, "It has represented a low-cost solution for the city and has produced unmistakable benefits for local farmers."

A city spokesperson said they were aware of complaints about the smell, but that it was Renda's responsibility to respond to the complaints.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality confirmed it has an open investigation after receiving three complaints. One was in regards to another field in Boyd for the same problem.

Both the city and residents said they believe growth in the area may be contributing to more complaints about the smell. New homes are going in on land that used to be rural. Residents said at time they have had to cancel family gatherings, or outdoor events, because the smell is to pungent to overcome.

"It costs the community," Dixon said. "It far outweighs the savings to this rancher on his fertilizer bill."

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