Westerville leaders said they learned a Columbus food-waste recycling company was operating without a permit inside a Westerville facility after residents complained about an odor.

Chief Brian Miller of the Westerville Division of Fire said the division received a call from a resident April 9 regarding an Innovative Organics Recycling facility at 170 E. Broadway Ave. He said the division investigated that afternoon and gave the operators until the end of the day April 10 to rid the area of the odor.

Miller said the odor was not toxic.

David Collinsworth, Westerville's city manager, said a cease-and-desist order was issued to the operator because company officials were unable to produce permits or any approved certificate of occupancy. He said the building appeared to be leased and he did not know who the owner was.

“They’ve stopped whatever processing activity was occurring, and they’ve begun removing equipment and materials,” he said.

George Hunyadi, co-owner of Innovative Organics Recycling, said the inability to produce proper permits was a lack of oversight.

“In our enthusiasm to get started, we overlooked some paperwork,” he said.

Hunyadi said the company did a one-day test in the building, but it is not running any equipment. He said the company intends to use the facility for “depackaging,” a process that separates food waste from recycled materials for clients who don’t want products going to a landfill.

He said the company plans on submitting permits to the city soon, but he is not sure about a starting date for the facility. 

Innovative Organics Recycling's primary facility is at 2121 Integrity Drive S. in Columbus. 

Hunyadi said the odor was present because the Westerville facility does not have an odor-control system, which would be installed soon.

Collinsworth said he didn’t know how many complaints the city has received, but a resident called April 9 to submit the complaint.