Barrel plant owners promise to install new pollution equipment at …

Emissions from a stack near Mid-America Steel Drum in St. Francis where there have been repeated odors complaints.(Photo: Mike De Sisti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

The company running a chain of troubled barrel refurbishing plants is promising to install pollution control equipment on its St. Francis facility in an effort to eliminate strong odors.

The equipment could resolve long-standing complaints from residents about putrid fumes blowing out of the plant and over the surrounding area, an industrial pollution expert said.

“If this is properly designed, installed and operated, it should greatly reduce or eliminate odor complaints in the surrounding community,” said Jacob Persky, an industrial hygienist with RHP Risk Management, a Chicago-based environmental consulting firm.

“This is a tremendous result of activism by the community.”

The move comes as the plants — in St. Francis, Milwaukee and Oak Creek — face  wide-ranging enforcement action by federal and state agencies. Five agencies have leveled more than 70 violations of environmental laws against the plants. 

The plant is also facing increasing pressure from residents in the area, who held a march in…

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