Strong odors have been wafting from the Cargill plant in Hammond as the result of an issue with the facility's wastewater treatment plant.
Local residents have no cause for alarm, and the company will fix the mechanical problem that is causing the smell as soon as it can, Cargill Environmental Manager Mike Golando said.
"We apologize for the situation and are working to resolve the problems as quickly as possible," he said.
The Minnesota-based food processing giant has a corn wet milling facility that makes corn starches and sweeteners for a variety of food products at 1100 Indianapolis Boulevard. The large plant has its own wastewater treatment facility because it would be cost-prohibitive for Cargill to send all its wastewater to the municipal plant, Golando said.
Cargill's wastewater treatment plant isn't working efficiently because of unidentified equipment problems. The company is working with the city of Hammond to fix it, and is investigating to determine what's wrong and why.
Once the investigation is complete, the company will repair the problem and return the treatment plant to normal operations.
But until then, strong odors may be present in the general vicinity of the plant, which is in a largely industrial area near the lakefront but which is about 150 feet from the nearest homes. The odors could range from a mild musty smell to a sharp rotten egg smell.
The odors could be more intense during humid weather, but aren't a cause for concern.
"If it's a calm day, it might not be an issue," Golando said. "But if it's a windy day, the odor might carry for a half-mile or so."