Fairborn schools raise biodigester concerns to Ohio EPA


FAIRBORN — The Fairborn City School District has joined the number of organizations asking the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to address citizen concerns about the Dovetail biodigester, located in Bath Township. The school district announced Wednesday that they have penned a letter to the Ohio EPA to raise concerns about the biodigester facility, which has been a long-standing point of contention among Fairborn and Bath Township citizens.

The letter is addressed to the director of the Ohio EPA, dated March 12, and signed by Superintendent Gene Lolli and board of education President Pat McCoart. In the letter, district officials request that the agency conduct an investigation into the Dovetail facility, citing the health and safety of its students.

“Our school district educates 4,176 students in Greene County, which approximately 17.4 percent have diagnosed disabilities and other health conditions,” the district wrote. “We are especially concerned about the effects of nuisance odors emanating from Dovetail upon our medically fragile students, and those students and staff with acute asthma and other respiratory challenges.”

The district has another reason to be concerned, as construction of a new Fairborn High School has begun, closer to the biodigester on Herr Road. The new $65 million to $70 million high school, performing arts complex, and athletic facility is located on 86 acres of land at Commerce Center Boulevard, 1.5 miles from Dovetail.

“We are concerned that airborne odors and irritants from Dovetail will cause respiratory illness or irritation to our students and staff assigned to this school building,” officials wrote. “We also expect our students and staff to be able to pursue curricular and extra-curricular activities at this school without enduring offensive and noxious odors that have been reported by many others within close proximity of the Dovetail facility.”

The district joins the Fairborn City Council in the number of organizations that have raised concerns to the Ohio EPA on behalf of their constituents.

“it is our understanding that Dovetail has a duty to operate its facility in such a manner that dust, odor, and other airborne health hazards and/or nuisances are controlled,” the district continued. “If it is found that Dovetail is out of compliance, then we would expect prompt and effective enforcement action.”

Owned by Bath Township trustee Tom Pitstick and operated by Renergy, Inc., Dovetail is currently engaged in a class-action lawsuit regarding the odors coming from the facility. The facility is also engaged in other lawsuits regarding alleged zoning violations. These cases are currently in litigation.

By London Bishop

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Reach London Bishop at 937-502-4532 or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.

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