WESTFIELD TOWNSHIP —Ohio EPA has issued a permit renewal to Emerald BioEnergy to update requirements for biosolids storage and land application.
Emerald BioEnergy is no longer accepting sewage sludge or biosolids as feedstock for the facility’s anaerobic digester. However, biosolids remain in the storage ponds on the property.
The permit renewal, issued as final, updates requirements for the biosolids storage and land application, and includes conditions to bridge the transition of operations, a news release from Ohio EPA states.
When land applying treated digestate, the facility is required to adhere to the final permit until a land application management plan (LAMP) and permit to install (PTI) are approved. After all biosolids are removed from the storage ponds and a LAMP and PTI have been issued, the final permit may be terminated.
Emerald opened here in September 2013. It is currently taxed as a public utility status by the Morrow County Treasurer.
The final permit includes requirements to monitor and evaluate performance of the anaerobic digester, monthly reporting of feedstock types and amounts, ground water monitoring and reporting, monthly reporting of freeboard for each storage pond, submitting an odor mitigation plan (must be approved by Ohio EPA), and reporting environmental issues outside of normal operations.
Before issuing the permit as final, Ohio EPA reviewed the company’s application to ensure compliance with federal and state standards, laws, and regulations. In December 2020, the Agency held a virtual public hearing about the project. The Agency reviewed and considered public comments received at the meeting and during the associated public comment period.
The final permit documents and the response to comments are available on Ohio EPA’s website.
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.
Morrow County Common Pleas Court Judge Tom Elkin earlier this year ruled in favor of Emerald Bioenergy (Renergy) in the trial brought against it by the Westfield Township Zoning Inspector.
“The Court finds that Emerald is a public utility and is not subject to the zoning regulations of the Plaintiff,” Elkin wrote in the opinion filed Feb. 1. “Plaintiff’s complaint for injunctive relief to enjoin Defendant, Emerald, from the use of non-agricultural feedstocks is denied.”
The township had sought to limit Emerald to process only animal manure from domestic livestock in accordance with Westfield’s definition of agriculture. The plaintiff had argued that Emerald is an industrial concern and, as such, is subject to township zoning.