BATH TOWNSHP — The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Sept. 26 that a final permit-to-install has been issued to the Dovetail Energy LLC Biosolids Treatment Facility, located at 1156 Herr Road in Bath Township.
The approved permit allows the company to add two, 2,000-gallon plug-flow heat tanks and a 230,000-gallon feedstock tank at the facility. According to the EPA media release, the new equipment will produce exceptional quality (EQ) biosolids which are considered to be a higher quality product.
However, the permit application was modified after the Ohio EPA addressed public concerns following a public meeting the state agency hosted on March 22 and an associated public comment period that ended on March 29. Changes include adding two additional feet to the height of the existing biosolids storage tank and scrapping a proposed 1.7-million-gallon digester and a backup generator from the project.
The facility currently treats sludge transported to the facility from municipal wastewater treatment plants, hog manure and other feedstocks in an anaerobic biodigester. Electricity is generated from the gas that is produced during the digesting process. The solids produced by the treatment process are land applied as a soil amendment for local farm fields.
Renergy Inc., the parent company of Dovetail Energy LLC. applied for the permit-to-install the new biosolids treatment system in January 2017, according to EPA records. The Class A, EQ status will allow the company to apply biosolids to land and distribute product with few restrictions. However, the approved Class A, EQ upgrade has failed to win acceptance from township residents, including Ron and Kassie Lester.
The couple, who live on the 700 block of Herr Road, were among the many township residents who expressed their concerns and complaints about the biodigester facility to EPA officials during the March public meeting and the public comment period. After receiving the news about the Ohio EPA’s approval of the permit-to-install, Kassie Lester expressed her displeasure about the decision.
“I’m am not happy that the EPA would issue a permit to a facility that is not zoned correctly and has had numerous complaints about foul odors and other issues, including violations for not building the storage lagoon accordingly to the original EPA permit issued,” Lester said. “The EPA decided not to cite the company with a violation even though the permit stated that the company must strictly adhere to the terms of the permit-to-install.”
The Ohio EPA Division of Surface Water issued an official 14-page response to 36 submitted comments from the township residents, which can be accessed at https://epa.ohio.gov/Portals/35/documents/DovetailPTI.pdf. The final permit-to-install is also available online at http://edocpub.epa.ohio.gov/publicportal/ViewDocument.aspx?docid=912171. Issuance of final permits can be appealed to the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC). Appeals generally must be filed within 30 days of issuing a final action; therefore, anyone considering filing an appeal should contact ERAC at 614-466-8950 for more information.
Linda Collins is a freelance writer for Greene County News.