Nampa Cheese Plant Noisy As Promised

Nearly two and a half years ago the GUARDIAN published a CHEESY STORY about an impending noisy, smelly new whey tower that would have caused Little Miss Muffet to fall off her tuffet. Here’s what a nearby frustrated neighbor has to say about the noise at Sorrento Lactalis’ cheese plant.

Eight and a half years ago I moved back to Idaho and purchased a small acreage in Canyon County. I convinced my wife of 4 years to move here based upon my fond memories of living here in the late seventies and early eighties. It is likely the decision I regret the most in my life.

A couple of months ago the Sorrento Lacatalis operation near Nampa completed their new whey tower and began operations. That operation generates an unbelievable amount of noise from 130 feet in the air ( a broadcast if you will), to the extent that our house is at many times or even all day ( 24 hours) unlivable as there is no escape from the humming sound anywhere in the house, being outside is impossible. This noise has rendered our home unlivable and a living nightmare as the walls and vents all resonate and hum.

On November 1st we began to try to get something done about it. We first contacted Sorrento, their representative told us that “ we employ 600 people and support the dairy industry, implying that our issue was not important”.

We contacted the Nampa mayor’s office, who referred us to the Nampa police, who referred us to the Canyon County Sheriff who referred us to the Canyon County Code Enforcement. Here it stopped. Code Enforcement did not respond to e-mails or to phone messages, to this date we still have not spoken to a single person at Code Enforcement.

At this point, we contacted one of the Canyon County Commissioners, the indication from the e-mails was that there had been numerous other complaints. Numerous contacts result in the blame and resolution being put to the Idaho DEQ. Contact with the DEQ resulted in them claiming it was up to the County. Additionally the EPA and the Governor’s office was contacted with the same result, they were unable to do anything about it, it was up to the County.

During this time Sorrento made contact with us and indicated that there had been many other complaints and that there were going to attempt to do something about it. One key point here, they were going to do something about it, however they were continuing to operate this tower in the meantime even though they were well aware of the toll it was taking on people’s lives.

It is obvious that no one here really cares about our plight in this matter (we contacted all of the media as well) and the people we pay to protect us from this type of pain and suffering and to protect us are unwilling to take any action to stop it. It appears that in Canyon County and Idaho the individual no longer has any rights to the private and peaceful enjoyment of their property.

A business can just come along, tell the City of Nampa that it wouldn’t be a good idea to approve a subdivision near the factory as the new whey tower will be much noisier than in the past and then turn around when seeking approval for the whey tower  tell the County that noise will not be an issue.

We are contemplating abandoning our home to save our health and sanity since it certainly isn’t salable, obviously the warm and fuzzy feeling about the Treasure Valley and the State of Idaho is gone. This may be just an early sign of what happens in a one party oligarchy, Idaho has become the “ Right to Harm” state.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. This is a truly sad tale, yet not a surprise at all. He is right–the Idaho moral of every story is business above everything else.

    One wonders if the whey tower could be heavily insulated against the noise it produces, but he’d need to consult engineers on this because I doubt if the company will.

    The people in the Magic Valley are also unable to enjoy their homes and properties because of the incessant, uncontrolled and unregulated stink from the various CAFOS in the area, not to leave out the contaminations of air, ground water, and soil. Most of those folks were there before the CAFOs migrated here from California after they faced strict environmental regulations. Idaho doesn’t believe in regulating anything. Regulation is a dirty word here.

  2. It seems to me that the decible level would be the first move. Have you done so? Or is it and annoying hum?

  3. But Dave, don’t you remember all the jobs and prosperity that tower would bring? I do remember some hub-bub about it but smell and noise wasn’t one of the issues I recall. It was the visuals everyone was torqued about.

    Now we have a noise and odor issue. It would seem to me there should be some noise abatement and scrubbers to cleanse the air. Don’t look for the Sorreto people to do anything on their own to be a good neigbor.

  4. See Boise County story on planning and zoning error.

    Also if we can make airplanes careful about noise I think you can also a little low margin cheeze plant.

    I like the idea of more jobs, but.

  5. Ah yes, I ran into something like that with a gravel pit near our house. In the summer it would start up at 4 a.m. and sound like a freight train coming in through our bedroom window. Called a county commissioner and he said the business was given permission to start early during the summer because of the afternoon temperatures. Said they weren’t breaking any laws & sorry we were in the way of the noise. I told him that if I were having a party at 4 a.m. that you could hear that far away, the cops would come. Sigh. He didn’t care.

  6. This wasn’t something that just “happened.” I remember when it was approved. Noise was discussed during the permitting process.

  7. Same thing, on a limited basis, when we lived near Hyde Park. The annual fair would boast really rotten rock bands that were so loud we could here them even with our windows closed. Illegal parking all through that north end of town for three days, with drunks puking in driveways. People would be sitting on our rock walls as though they belonged to them. We lived there for 17 years, and I was raised in the north end, so I do miss some aspects of living there. But not the Hyde Park Street Fair. Zero police back up. Zero.

  8. This must be a mistake. Only Wisconsin grows cheese and a lot of other offensive stuff. We had a stink in St Paul (literally) with a ethanol plant in an old brewery. Now that brewery might get government help to become a residential commercial development. The same could happen in Canyon County if they are lucky. I know cheese.

  9. Old JR Simplot would say, screw you guys, that’s the sweet sound of money. And good luck, my guys the Mayor.

  10. The City of Nampa likely referred Mr. Flanary to the County because the factory is in the County. The City has no jurisdiction. I drive by the plant frequently and don’t remember seeing any city subdivisions nearby. There are some county subdivisions that have been there awhile, but no city subs that I am aware of. One of the problems that occurs when the County does not have zoning, just CUP. Keep the subdivisions inside city limits and create buffers from industrial uses.

  11. Find exactly what law is being violated by the factory, band together with your neighbors and sue…then go after the local government that is not enforcing the law.

  12. Erico,
    I’m one of the impacted neighbors. Can you please send me more information on the noise discussion and the permit? I need to find this information.

  13. “We are contemplating abandoning our home to save our health and sanity since it certainly isn’t salable, obviously the warm and fuzzy feeling about the Treasure Valley and the State of Idaho is gone. This may be just an early sign of what happens in a one party oligarchy, Idaho has become the “ Right to Harm” state.”

    Please Tom, don’t forget to spread those words when you and your “War Bride” get back to where ever you came from!
    You must have been chummed in on one of those other “Gosh, ain’t Idaho great!” invasions if you thought Idaho was truly wonderful in the “late seventies and early eighties.” (Idaho was already suffering from over kalifornication in those days too.) Back then it was mostly kalis and northern left coasters swarming here. The only difference is that now we seem to have added the gawl dangit texan rabble to the hordes.
    Anyway, go ahead and abandon your house, but above all, have a nice trip BACK to where ever you came from.
    Don’t leave with empty seats in your vehicle and remember to tell all your other pals and relatives how absolutley NASTY it was here when you get home.


    Because of noxious noise complaints, the factory’s whey dryer will be silenced for the New Year’s holiday weekend:

    Now, could you please do something about the Tax Commission’s alleged stinky cheese deals?

    Happy New Year! Stick around.


  15. The owners of the cheese factory testified in a city hearing (before they went to the county for the permit) that it’s proposed new whey dryer tower would be noisy and smelly and generate a lot more traffic. Then, when they went to the county, they denied all of this. Bizzare, but true.

  16. Hire a lawyer. Seriously. This is a classic case of a public nuisance, against which you have a common law remedy. Your damages would likely be financial rather than an injunction against the noise – but enough money would let you move to somewhere quieter.

  17. What about a lawsuit by all the surrounding home owners for lost property value?

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