POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — In their continued effort to get it shut down, Polk County commissioners on Tuesday authorized further legal action to be considered against a compost operation that some say stinks up the neighborhood.

“We got a pool back there and we can’t even go swimming sometimes because it stinks so bad,” said Samantha Kosier, who lives near BS Ranch & Farm. “Family members come over and they’re like ‘what is that smell’?”

“I do not think that it is safe for us and I don’t think we should have to deal with this,” said Deborah Hayes, who also lives near the site.

BS Ranch & Farm takes in tens of thousands of human waste, biosolids, yard waste and garbage every month, state and county records show.

The intent was to turn the materials into soil, but state and county officials say that is not happening.

“They were going to mix it with other ingredients and sell that as fertilizer to farmers and ranchers or whatever. The fact is they take it in and they don’t sell it out,” said Polk County Commissioner Bill Braswell. “They’re really more of a waste facility than anything else.”

The farm’s approval was one of Braswell’s first votes on the commission.

In his 11 years on the board, it is the one vote commissioner George Lindsey says he regrets.

“I went out there when it initially opened up with the idea, being a farmer, maybe I could use the material. Found out it really wasn’t what I thought it was,” said Braswell.

BS Ranch & Farm owner Brandy Stanton tells News Channel 8 it does sell soil but, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s notice of permit renewal denial in March 2022, it converted .0093% of its materials into it.

Stanton also denies the facility emits much of an odor, if at all. However, the county has previously cited the company for odor violations.

“We talk about this on a weekly basis around here. It smells so bad and it goes so far. It’s really upsetting to the people who live within a mile or two of it,” said Braswell.

After DEP denied BS Ranch’s permit renewal, the department came to an agreement with the company in what’s known as a consent order. In it, BS Ranch is required to take certain actions, including testing of the water to make sure it is not contaminating the groundwater.

The county says the consent order did not go far enough.

As part of Tuesday’s consent agenda, commissioners authorized the county to petition for an administrative hearing and take other legal actions to reverse or modify DEP’s consent order.

It also authorizes the county attorney’s office to hire outside counsel to seek legal remedies against BS Ranch & Farm.

“It’s going get expensive. It’s been expensive but we’ve been handling most of it internally. We’re going to hire an outside law firm that specializes in this sort of thing and see what we can get done that way,” said Braswell.

“They knew exactly what we were going to be doing. We’ve come to an agreement with DEP. It’s very good and very sound. Why they want to go around trying to shut this business down, I don’t understand. It’s frustrating,” Stanton said in a phone interview with News Channel 8.