Federal EPA opens investigation into Dovetail


BATH TOWNSHIP — Region 5 of the United States Environmental Protection Agency has opened an investigation into Emerald Bioenergy and Dovetail Energy.

According to an email obtained by this newspaper, the Water Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Branch in EPA Region 5 has been in correspondence with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to discuss the compliance status of the Emerald Bioenergy/Dovetail Energy facilities in Morrow and Greene counties.

Renergy, Inc., operates both facilities.

The Dovetail biodigester is located on 14.7 acres of a farm owned by Bath Township Trustee Tom Pitstick. Both facilities use an anaerobic process to break down manure and food waste into fertilizer and electricity.

Residents of Bath Township have long opposed the existence of the Dovetail biodigester on account of odor and health concerns. In emails obtained by this newspaper, Pitstick has forwarded several complaints from area residents to Renergy COO Cari Oberfield.

In an email dated Sept. 10, 2020, Pitstick wrote “Cari, I am going to start forwarding these to you so you have some idea how much pressure they are putting on Steve and I. There are quite a few of them.”

On Wednesday, May 19, during the Township trustees’ regular meeting, residents once again demanded Pitstick’s resignation.

“Your actions have given the township a huge black eye, and it will take years for the reputation of the township to be restored,” Lorie Venable said during public comments.

Last month during the land application of fertilizer processed by the Emerald biodigester, an equipment failure spilled an estimated 2,500 gallons of liquid animal and food waste into a nearby stream, according to both Renergy and the Ohio EPA. The spill has exacerbated environmental concerns among residents of both counties.

The EPA has assigned both a technical inspector and an attorney to the case, documents read.

Representatives of the EPA were not immediately available for comment by press time Friday. This newspaper also reached out to Pitstick for comments. This story will be updated as more information is available.

Region 5 of the federal EPA serves Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and 35 tribes.

By London Bishop

[email protected]

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

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