It stinks in Zech. At least sometimes, but then it is unbearable, local residents say. Various sources are possible as the cause, but a query from the Lindauer Zeitung reveals that nobody wants to be responsible for it.
There’s no clear pattern that suggests it stinks particularly badly at certain times. It seems to depend on the wind and weather whether the smell wafts through Zech. The stench is difficult to describe, says Max Strauss. The city councilor of the Bunte Liste lives in Zech, and the stench has bothered him for several years.
The permitted maximum values are far from being reached.
A lawyer from the Rupp company.
There is no term that would describe him well. The word “rotten” is the most appropriate. His neighbor Jochen Hund describes the smell in a similar way. “Most like rotten starch,” he says. It reminds him of fermentation processes. “When it smells particularly bad, I always ask myself, ‘Are they grilling old cats again?'”
500 meters as the crow flies to the animal feed factory
From the point of view of the dog and ostrich, that is the company Rupp Food in Hörbranz, which produces animal feed about 500 meters away as the crow flies. The company is located directly behind the Austrian border on the Leiblach. Both neighbors had already had a lot of contact with the company, but also with the responsible authority, the Bregenz district authority. This is the counterpart of our district office. So far, however, this has not led to any real improvements.
When I asked the Rupp company, her lawyer answered. An odor nuisance that is described as “rotten” could not possibly come from his client, writes Andreas Germann. The factory in Hörbranz may only use flawless goods for its products. These are also checked regularly.
In addition, the company has strict requirements regarding air hygiene. Measurements have also been taken recently. “The permitted maximum values are far from being reached,” writes the lawyer.
Authority controls air hygiene
This is confirmed by Thomas Mair from the Vorarlberg state press office. The company has made intensive efforts in recent years to solve the problem technically. In order to avoid odor nuisance, the air washer system was modified, a plasma system was installed and the chimneys were raised.
The authorities are receiving tips from the population in the region.
The district administration, as the responsible authority, has prescribed air hygiene requirements for the Rupp Food company, which are also checked. Nonetheless, the subject keeps popping up there as well. “The authorities are receiving tips from the population in the region,” Mair said. The complaints were examined ex officio, and an official air hygiene expert was consulted. “In his statement, he comes to the conclusion that odor emissions are limited to a reasonable level,” writes Mair.
The animal feed factory Rupp Food is right next to the Leiblach on the Austrian side. Local residents suspect that the production stinks and feel bothered. (Photo: cf)
The case is also known to the Lindau district office. However, his hands are tied. “Since the Rupp Food company is based in Austria, the Bregenz district authority is responsible for this,” writes press spokeswoman Sibylle Ehrlicher. There are no conditions for the system from the German side. In the event of complaints, an exchange takes place with the Austrian authorities.
Sewage treatment plant is also in the neighborhood
Lawyer Andreas Germann points out in his email that the bad smell could also come from another source. Looking at the urban area of Zech, it is much more likely that the smell came from the Lindau sewage treatment plant, which is also in the vicinity. Sewage sludge is also dried there. Germann also points to a composting facility operated by Garten- und Tiefbaubetriebe Lindau (GTL) there.
The Lindau sewage treatment plant could also be a source of bad smells. (Photo: Photo: Christian Flemming)
Lindauern also noticed that the system sometimes stinks, as FDP city councilor Florian Nüberlin reported at the most recent meeting of the works committee. “I can only ask for patience,” said Heike Burghard, head of the wastewater management department at GTL. The sewage treatment plant is currently being renovated. In the next two years, mud and water would have to be diverted there because pools are being renovated. “It can stink,” she said.
However, smell is always subjective.
In an interview with the Lindauer Zeitung, she explains it like this: “Microorganisms don’t like it when the composition changes.” That’s why she wouldn’t rule out the possibility that it smells stronger while processes are being changed. But she doesn’t see a problem in the long term. She could not answer whether Zech was particularly affected. It certainly depends on the wind direction. “But smell is always subjective,” she says.
This is what the sewage sludge smells like
Burghard believes it is impossible that the sewage sludge drying and the composting plant smell as bad as the lawyer for Rupp Food suggests. Because of a biofilter, only a small amount of odor escapes from the sewage sludge drying process. And it doesn’t smell rotten, but, according to her description, rather “earthy-spicy, like a kind of forest floor”. The same applies to the composting plant, where the city garden center composts the material that the employees cut off in green areas and parks. “These are well-aerated compost heaps, nothing rots there,” she says.
As the cause of the stench that Max Strauss and Jochen Hund perceive, they rule out the sewage treatment plant. Both sought contact with the Rupp company and have already been there for personal talks. The exchange is always very friendly and benevolent, says Jochen Hund. At that time, all sorts of different plans were presented to him, by when which technical improvement would be installed. “I also see the chimney extensions that were added last year, but nothing has improved,” he says, adding, “I don’t care about dates. It stinks. Point.”