Basalt-area pot farm’s stink dissipates
Today’s first-ever quarterly meeting to discuss the stinky odors coming from a Basalt-area marijuana-growing facility may be a quick and quiet affair.
That’s because the skunklike marijuana smell coming from High Valley Farms that so incensed residents of the Holland Hills subdivision last summer appears to have dissipated, according to Pitkin County documents.
A third-party contractor has been monitoring the odors coming out of the facility since Sept. 15 and has not detected any of the offending smells, according to a memo from Pitkin County Environmental Health Manager Kurt Dahl. In addition, county officials haven’t received any odor complaints since Pitkin County commissioners approved High Valley Farms’ license Sept. 23, Dahl wrote.
Finally, the last complaint registered at RoaringForkSkunkSmell.com came on Oct. 17, and a phone line set up to log text or voice odor complaints about the farm also has not received any, according to Dahl’s memo.
In fact, the only complaint county officials are currently investigating was about water collected after the indoor marijuana crop is watered and reused to irrigate outdoor landscaping at the farm, the memo states.
“The complaint raises questions about the chemical/nutrient components of this water, the proximity to the Roaring Fork River and concern about runoff into the river,” Dahl wrote. “If this water is considered irrigation water and not wastewater, then (the Environmental Health Department) does not have the authority to regulate it.”
The department is working on determining the answer to that question, the memo states.
High Valley Farms came within about a week of having its license yanked by commissioners in September. At that time, neighbors urged commissioners to take such action because they said the smell forced them to avoid the outdoors and keep windows closed during the summer of 2015.
However, farm co-owner Jordan Lewis, who also owns the Silverpeak Apothecary marijuana dispensary in Aspen, installed a carbon-filtration system in one of his four greenhouses eight days before commissioners reapproved his license.
And that system, which required a seven-figure investment, did the trick and allowed commissioners to approve the license, 4-1. Commissioner George Newman was the lone dissenter.
The other three greenhouses, which were not operational at the time because of the odor problem, were each supposed to have their own filtration system.
In addition to the third-party monitoring, commissioners also required High Valley Farms to meet with them on a quarterly basis until they deem it no longer necessary. Today’s meeting is the first of those.
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