By CRAIG McTEAR
MANDY Baston reckons the smell was so bad she almost packed her bags and sought refuge in a motel room.
She was close to vomiting, she says, because of the sickening stench wafting across her Boambee property from the nearby Coffs Harbour tip on Monday night.
Mandy and her husband, Zeno, have put up with gut-wrenching odours from the waste depot for years.
They claim the new Biomass Solutions waste processing facility, rather than improving the situation as it was touted to, has now added a new realm to their distress.
"Spending a beautiful summer's evening by the pool, relaxing and enjoying a fresh salad and steamed fish sounds wonderful, but that putrid smell has robbed us of that opportunity," Mandy said.
"It's been like this for at least six months. Your nose burns and it smells like vomit, that's how bad it is."
Mandy says the problem is with rotting garbage being processed into mulch outside the Biomass shed instead of indoors like it should be.
And she claims even when rubbish is being handled inside the shed, the doors have been left open.
To make matters worse, a leachate dam near the facility is also heavy on the nose.
"I can't put up with the stench any longer. People might pass us off as whingers, but they should try living out here," Mandy said.
Zeno says he's never smelt anything like it.
"If they can't control what comes out of the facility, they should shut it down," he said.
An adjoining resident, Pat Leng, said the smell had been totally unacceptable for some time.
"It's a combination of vomit and sometimes dog droppings," Pat said.
Biomass Solutions regional manager Lee Beckett said problems had arisen due to the big wet, but he denied garbage was being processed outdoors.
"We got caught out with this very bad weather in terms of storage of material. It's not garbage, but the product that comes out after the process," he said.
"Now the weather has cleared, we're putting in measures to make improvements.
"We've also had problems with the storage dams on site.
"We're making every step to rectify the problems. We're also mindful we have to be good neighbours."