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Letter To The Editor: Statement From H&M Trucking Owner

To The Editor:


I have stayed pretty quiet about all the complaining going on, not because I have anything to hide or have done anything wrong, but because I know that whatever is said on social media automatically becomes true to some people no matter what facts they are presented with.  I have just figured it is better to say nothing and try to ignore the worthless drama.  I always try and be respectful to others and portray a Christian attitude, but that is really being tested with the comments being made.  There is enough hate and discontent in this world, why do a number of you have to bring it into our community? It is such a waste of time and energy.  A year ago I put out a statement in a local paper, and I invited anyone to come out and I would explain what we do here, but instead you would rather make statements on social media that are not true.  You know how many people showed up to ask questions? Two.  I have heard people say it smells to bad to visit.  There are days we have between 50 to 100 people stop by here to do business.  Some days it smells here, a lot of days it does not.  It is a poor excuse to no come by.  So, here are some statements that are NOT true.


1. I try and save money and not treat the waste water.

2. I don't run the aerators enough.  They have been called regeneration pumps but I don't know what that is.

3. There was never a problem before I bought this business.

4. The smell is constant all year and covers the entire city.

5. The ponds are being overloaded.

6. I don't care.


Here are TRUE statements.

1. Since I have bought this company I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment and products to put in the water.

2. The aerators that were already on the lagoons were only able to be used when the temperature was above freezing.  In the last 2 and a half years I have added 2 different types of aerators that run underwater and can be run all year.  I run them constantly.  The only time they might be shut off is if we are doing maintenance to them.

3. The previous owners had problems from time to time also, and it is documented.  They had to constantly work on it to keep it in balance also.

4. The smell is not constant and does not cover the entire city.  I will comment more on this later.

5. While we do wash more trailers and use more water than the previous owners, we probably put the same or less of actual product out in the lagoons.  I have put tanks here on site to catch a lot of our solids.  When we catch a certain amount then they are hauled off and disposed of. The lagoons have been here for a number of years and have accumulated sludge over this time. With the procedures I have put in place it has stirred them up and is taking a while to get them balanced again.  Unfortunately there is a lot of trial and error that we go through.

6. The statement that I don't care is absurd.  This is constantly on my mind. I have been seeking advice and purchasing products from 5 different waste water experts along with constant contact with the EPA trying to find a good solution.  I am by no means an expert on waste water, but I am learning as I go.


I would like to return to the claims of the potency of the smell.  I will not deny that there could be times that it can be smelled in town, in the spring, and depending on the wind.  I can say for sure that a constant year round smell is not coming from H&M.  I am in town everyday and all times of the day and night.  I have smelled it around the schools on the west side of town very few times in the 4 years that I have owned this business, and that is it.  I do business with multiple places around town and their consensus is the same as mine.  I can say that I have been able to smell odors in town from other locations around town, and even as far away as Decatur at certain times.  This is the affect of our way of life.  Without these places that may cause an odor at times we would not have the communities that we do.  It is a way of life.  I would be pretty certain that any business owner would agree with me in saying that in no way do I want to be a nuisance to anyone with the work that I do.  If any of you legitimately feel that I have ruined any of your days, I apologize.  I will continue to work to solve this problem that I have until it is resolved.  The problem is I feel most of the complaints are no more than a domino effect of face book.  What is offensive to me, way more than any smell, is the way people can respond to a situation in such a negative way.  Other people watch us, and more importantly our kids learn from us.  What kind of lesson is learned from name calling and spreading hate?


Once again I extend the invitation to come talk to me instead of hiding behind a computer screen.  Believe it or not, we grill lunch outdoors 4 or 5 times a week here.  Come out, talk, have a hamburger, I promise not to poison it.


Thank you,

Travis Hoffman

H&M Trucking

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