DEP: Jeannette hemp warehouse violating odor law
A state agency slapped a Jeannette hemp-drying facility with a violation notice over a “nauseating” pot-like odor reportedly wafting from the warehouse for weeks.
George Traister, a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection inspector, checked the facility in response to two complaints about the strong smell of hemp, which is similar to that of its botanical sibling marijuana.
Since the initial inspection on Sept. 18, Patriot Shield Security, the company that runs the warehouse, has installed air scrubbers which “reduced the odor significantly,” but not enough to eliminate the problem, according to a report from Traister.
Representatives from Patriot Shield did not respond to requests for comment.
Pennsylvania law prohibits “the emission into the outdoor atmosphere of any malodorous air contaminants” that can be smelled outside the offending property.
The notice of violation is not an order, nor does it come with any penalties, according to the DEP. However, the DEP could take further action if Patriot Shield does not address the problem.
The Colorado-based company opened its hemp-drying operation in Jeannette last month. It employs about 70 Jeannette residents, according to the company.
The company dries hemp to turn it into a smokeable product, which is like marijuana but without the high.
Neighbors were quick to complain about the smell. Mayor Curtis Antoniak said last month he’d received more than a dozen complaints.
When the facility opened, it did not have an occupancy permit from the city.
According to the DEP report, Jeannette issued a cease and desist order to Patriot Shield but later rescinded the order because it plans to work with the company to solve the odor problems.
Jacob Tierney is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jacob at 724-836-6646, [email protected] or via Twitter .