FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- The horrible smell lingering over Fort Smith and the surrounding areas is chicken byproducts used to fertilize local crop fields, according to employees at a local trucking company.
Those employees said the source of the smell is off of Cross Lanes Road in Crawford County. The area is near the Arkansas River and Industrial Park Road.
According to the employees the chicken byproducts are picked up from local poultry companies and injected into the fields. They also said the byproducts are used to fertilize corn fields that eventually create animal food.
According to officials at the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Fort Smith Field Office, the company is not responsible for the smell because it is exempt as an agriculture odor. The process, according to state officials is legal and the companies acquire permits.
The odor was also strong off of Hale Farm Road. That area of fields has black residue left behind that county agencies said is part of the fertilizing process.
According to county employees, fertilizing with sludge is cheaper than using manure.
5NEWS is checking with the ADEQ in Little Rock to see how they monitor fertilization near the Arkansas River.