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Here’s the $700,000 plan to get rid of the Lynnway’s onion odor

Senobio Aispuro sautes vegetables for soup at Kettle Cuisine in Lynn. (Tara Morris)

LYNN — The stench of cooked onions and garlic on the Lynnway could be just a memory.

Following complaints from neighbors, the city and state, Kettle Cuisine has agreed to install a pair of $700,000 stainless steel chimneys designed to eliminate the odors.

“We’re convinced after the installation, there will be no detectable odor coming from Kettle Cuisine,” said Liam McClennon, the company’s CEO.

The solution followed calls from neighbors, and meetings with City Hall, and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

The saga began in 2014 when the company outgrew its Chelsea plant and moved to Lynn. The privately-held firm invested $25 million in the two-story, 220,000-square foot facility on the Lynnway. At the time, they had 175 employees that handcrafted small batch soups from scratch for restaurants, food service operators and grocery stores.

Today, the company employees 400 workers, 70 percent of whom live in Lynn.

Two years ago, complaints wafted in about the smell of cooked onions and garlic. As a result, the city’s Inspectional Services Department (ISD) issued a citation which said the odors were a public nuisance and interfered with the comfortable enjoyment of life. ISD ordered them to take immediate action to abate the air pollution.

Later that year, Kettle appealed the violation to MassDEP.  Company officials met with the city and MassDEP to devise a strategy to identify and evaluate the odors.

Kettle Cuisine hired Epsilon Associates, a Maynard environmental engineering company, to sample, analyze and evaluate the impacts of the odors. The engineering report concluded construction of a chimney extending 93 feet above ground level was the answer. The team also explored the possibility of a second chimney, which the city preferred, and the company agreed.

Last week, Kettle Cuisine signed an agreement with the state for the two-stack solution. Construction is expected to begin this summer.

In addition to the chimneys, McClennon said they will also install fans that will push the odors even higher into the atmosphere.

Previously, McClennon tried at least two other ways to solve the smell problem, he said. The first step was to make sure the filters were maintained, then they installed ozone treatment equipment at a cost of $36,000.

“It definitely had an impact, and reduced the smell,” he said. “But we decided it was not enough of a reduction, now we have a much bigger solution.”

Mayor Thomas M. McGee said he is hopeful this lastest fix will work.

“We have been working towards addressing the issue to see what will work,” he said. “Hopefully, this latest solution will alleviate the problem and we can move forward.   

Ward 4 City Councilor Richard Colucci, who lives near the factory, said anything that will alleviate the smell is a step in the right direction.

“The smell is sickening, it makes your eyes water,” he said. “We hope this is the answer, but we will keep on them.”

Kettle Cuisine asks anyone who smells of odors from the plant to a special line the company has set up at 617-409-1290 or email them at [email protected].

“We’ve been here for four years we want to be here for another 40,” said McClennon.

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