State approves plan to use lime as deterrent to neutralize Nassau County stench

Department of Environmental Protection approves ‘Lime Addition Pilot Study,’ which will run through Jan. 31, 2023

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – The Department of Environmental Protection has approved a “Lime Addition Procedure Pilot Study” at the sludge site in Yulee owned by Rayonier Advanced Materials.

For years, many residents in Nassau County have complained about a sewage-like smell that’s been especially noticeable along A1A and State Road 200. Recently, the county narrowed down the source of the smell to the sludge site.

“Like rotten shrimp. Like if someone just dumped a bunch of shrimp heads out,” resident Richard Crosby said when describing the smell.

The yearlong study will look at the impact of lime being poured on the sludge site -- a method that’s commonly used to absorb and minimize odor. If there’s a quantifiable reduction in odors, then Rayonier would have to get a modified sludge permit.

Lime can be used to neutralize odors by slightly raising the pH of surface materials and should enable the absorption of order, the DEA writes. The study will run through Jan. 31, 2023.

Notably, the odor that residents have issued complaints to the county about is not toxic or harmful to anyone’s health. A sludge site, as described by the DEP, is a site used to treat and dispose of residual solids from a wastewater treatment plant.

About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.