When I was young, we took a vacation to Florida every summer. We would leave our home in Central Arkansas and head South on Interstate 530. Pine Bluff was the first major Arkansas city we would pass through after Little Rock.
It only took us about 50 short minutes to get there and, even though I wasn’t really paying attention in the back seat, I always knew when we hit Pine Bluff.
Pine Bluff Paper Mill sometimes makes Arkansas smell bad
When I was little, the paper mill was called International Paper or “IP” for short. It has changed names now but the smell remains the same.
My grandfather worked there as an electrician for many, many years. His clothes and the inside of his car would wreak but we always said it “smelled like money.” Because, his paychecks are what took us to Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah each summer.
However, not everyone thinks the stinch in Pine Bluff smells like money and there are more places in Arkansas that smell bad than just Pine Bluff.
I’m not trying to pick on you, Pine Bluff.
Pine Bluff is still a great Arkansas city to visit and it doesn’t smell bad all over town.
Chicken houses in Arkansas don’t smell that good either
Now, it’s been years since I’ve smelled a chicken house while driving by. It’s not a normal occurrence in Arkansas but it does happen.
I used to be a mother to chickens myself. We had 5 laying hens in our backyard.
In the summer, they smell bad. Warm chicken poo just doesn’t smell good.
On rainy days, they smell bad. Wet chicken poo just doesn’t smell good.
Are you getting my drift? …I mean, the chickens’ drift?
Imagine multiplying the smell of 5 chickens to hundreds or thousands in an industrial chicken house.
Trust me when I say it’s not good.
Crossett has a smelly paper mill, too
Here we go with another paper mill. The paper mill in Crossett, Arkansas is also responsible for some foul air in Arkansas.
The bad smelling gas is actually hydrogen sulfide or “H2S.” The hydrogen sulfide primarily rises as a steam from dirty water drained from the mill and makes the air in that area smell bad.
“If they paid me, I’d get out of here tomorrow,” Howard said in reference to buyouts some Crossett homeowners received years ago from Georgia-Pacific after allegations that dirty air from the mill had damaged their property. -source
Arkansas doesn’t smell bad everywhere
To be perfectly clear, I have lived in Arkansas my entire life and have only encountered these “smelly situations” a hand full of times.
Every state has it’s smells from various industries and Arkansas is no different. However, as a whole, Arkansas is a very clean smelling state. In fact, it’s my favorite state.