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Storm slams Palm Beach County: Live updates, photos, video

Has Bill Gates found a solution to Wellington’s horse manure stench?


Bill Gates has been working to tackle a stinky problem.

The multi-billionaire Wellington resident recently wrote a blog post about a trip to Switzerland to see the progress of perfumes designed to mask the smell of poop.

A company called Firmenich designed a perfume to mimic the smell of the foul odor so they could test ways to cover it up, Gates writes, adding that one billion people have no access to toilets, which is a major problem that he and others are working to solve.

To read the latest headlines from Wellington, go to palmbeachpost.com/wellington

But maybe the science can also work to help the co-founder of Microsoft in his new home.

Gates has invested more than $30 million in property in Wellington’s equestrian preserve including a $27 million buying binge this year. The property is near the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, where his daughter Jennifer has competed in show jumping events.

A typical horse produces about 50 pounds of manure a day, multiply that by more than 12,000 horses at peak season and Wellington alone produces about 80,000-100,000 tons a year. Recently, U.S. Sugar has been talking the bulk of the village’s manure, but there have been problems with illegal dumping in the past, causing smelly situations for people who live nearby.

The Palm Beach County Commission also approved a pilot program to operate a manure recycling operation near the Glades. Wellington and the surrounding areas have been working with the county and other agencies to get a handle on the issue.

But it still comes up fairly often in the Winter Equestrian Capital of the World.

Some of the residents who have come to meetings to oppose the Winding Trails equestrian development project have complained that they might smell the odor from manure near their back yards. The developers seek to build nine large-lot equestrian estates with barns, owner’s apartments and groom’s quarters on the defunct Wanderers Par 3 Course.

Manure experts working with the developers have assured the residents that with proper manure bins and frequent hauling, they won’t smell a thing. But some neighbors said they can already smell it from nearby equestrian preserve when the wind is blowing just right.

The project that Gates is working on could affect the quality of life for a billion people in third world countries who don’t have proper access to things that people in Wellington probably take for granted. But maybe the technology can help the locals in one of several places the billionaire calls home.


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