The sun is shining. The temperature is somewhere in the 70s. And a truck full of chicken bones and feet and miscellaneous animal guts is sitting outside Tim Kedrowski's trailer office.
Kedrowski, a plant general manager for animal byproduct recycler Sanimax, knows his South St. Paul business stinks, but he says a remodel will almost eliminate the foul odor.
Sanimax, at 505 and 545 Hardman Av. S., will spend $8 million to redevelop approximately 5,000 square feet of its properties for offices and add an 11,000-square-foot processing plant in the rear of one of its buildings.
The development will include demolition of temporary offices, parking lot changes, landscaping improvements and taller smokestacks.
Overall, the project should reduce the stench by 90 percent or more, Kedrowski said.
"The biggest thing for me is it's going to make the city happy," he said. "It's not just good for the employees; it's good for the whole city. It's a win-win situation."
Odor has been a big topic of conversation in and around the BridgePoint industrial area, where Sanimax is located, along with a couple of slaughterhouses and a tanning business.
City planner Peter Hellegers is spearheading creation of a city odor ordinance that could establish maximum odor levels and durations.
"We know that odor is a problem down there," he said of the industrial park. "We heard complaints, but it's clear as day when you go down there some days."
Odor sampling that was taken starting in July will provide a more accurate reading of the problem, Hellegers said. While there is a draft of the ordinance, council discussion probably won't begin until early next year, he said.
"It's easy to blame somebody for the odor," Kedrowski said. "There are several companies that can create the odors. We sometimes get blamed for smells that we didn't create."
But Kedrowski said he thinks the redevelopment will improve public perception of his plant.
Sanimax collects animal and meat byproducts and used cooking oil to be recycled into goods such as pet food and organic fertilizer.
The addition of another processing plant will let the company process its beef and poultry byproducts separately instead of mixing them together, which will result in higher quality, unadulterated products and potentially more profit.
The new plant also will help alleviate the need for trucks of animal parts to sit around outside, said Dennis McCarthy, Sanimax's vice president for operations in the United States.
"You're more than apt to get a problem when product sits any length of time because degradation of it causes obviously an odor," McCarthy said. "Anyone that's had any kind of product like that knows [that], even if you have left it outside your refrigerator. So the key to it is to move it fast."
New smokestacks will reach 100 feet, higher than what is generally allowed by the city, but McCarthy says that the greater height will help the smell disperse.
Remodeling for Sanimax's property should begin this fall and be completed in 2016.
Last week, the City Council unanimously approved Sanimax for a planned-unit development; that gives the company more flexibility to deviate from city code.
Mayor Beth Baumann said she was pleased with the plans and thought the redevelopment would help the area.
"People have come regardless of the odor so it doesn't prevent development, but for people who are a little more picky, like offices, it would help," she said.
Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495