FAIRBORN — The Fairborn City Council has penned a letter of concern to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, citing concerns from residents about the Dovetail biodigester.
The letter, dated Friday, Feb. 26, is addressed to Laurie Stevenson, Ohio EPA Director and signed by the mayor and each member of the Fairborn City Council. The letter concerns the long-embattled Dovetail biodigester facility, located on Herr Road in Bath Township.
Residents of both Bath Township and Fairborn have long raised concerns about the facility and the odor that is alleged to emanate from it.
According to the letter, the council receives “daily” complaints about the facility’s operation and the smell coming from the storage pond near it. These complaints range from homeowners being unable to open their windows or go outside, to adverse physical reactions requiring medical attention.
“We understand that as a City Council we do not have any regulatory authority over the facility’s operation and maintenance, but we believe there exists the potential for serious adverse effects to our residents because of our proximity to the facility,” the Council said.
The letter also cites the facility’s “history of OEPA violations” dating back to its initial construction, and asks the agency to hold Dovetail and Renergy — which runs the biodigester — accountable.
“The city understands the need for waste treatment and that if appropriately operated, there exist certain benefits to recycling waste with this type of facility,” the council wrote. “However, there are potential adverse effects on our city and residents if the violations continue and the odor issues are not addressed.”
Members of the city council have previously told this newspaper that they have been closely watching the issues surrounding the facility, and reiterated as much in response to public comments during their March 1 council meeting.
“We all know about the biodigester,” said mayor Paul Keller. “There is a concern.”
Councilwoman Donna Wilson said she had personal experiences with the odor, and described the smell as “gagging.”
“We are very concerned about the biodigester,” she said. “I did tour the facility several years ago. The smell is very bad.”
“You can’t say enough about citizens who care,” said councilman Clint Allen. “If this many people have concerns about it, it’s a problem.”
The biodigester is located on the 14.7 acres of a farm owned by Bath Township Trustee Tom Pitstick. The biodigester is owned by Dovetail Energy LLC, and run by Renergy, Inc., which is headquartered in Morrow County, Ohio.
In December 2020, citizens filed a class-action lawsuit regarding the biodigester, calling the odor a public nuisance. Bath Township is engaged in several other lawsuits directly or in reference to the biodigester, regarding both the smell and alleged zoning violations of the facility. These cases are currently in litigation.
Reach London Bishop at 937-502-4532 or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.