WESTFIELD TOWNSHIP — The Ohio EPA continues to look into the April 17 spill from Emerald Bioenergy (Renergy) that went into a local waterway.
A spill of about 2,000 gallons of material reportedly washed into the Whetstone River and headed toward Delaware Reservoir and Lake. The company said it contacted the Ohio EPA Saturday afternoon as soon as the spill was discovered.
Residents also contacted the agency.
In an email sent this week from Cari Oberfield, Renergy Chief Operating Officer, to a public official, she wrote about the incident, saying:
“On Saturday, April 17, 2021, during standard land application operations on a farm field permitted for Emerald BioEnergy fertilizer, certified land application contractor Raw Handling, LLC, immediately reported to Renergy, OEPA, and ODNR that a hose failure occurred resulting in a small volume of material, estimated at 2,000 gallons, entering a farm waterway on the site.”
The OEPA told The Sentinel, “The company has responded and is taking steps to address the spill. Ohio EPA staff have been overseeing and monitoring the company’s response to the spill. A Notice of Violation will be issued for impacts to waters of the state.”
The material was a mixture of manure and food waste, according to the OEPA. Much of the spilled material has been contained and cleaned up, the agency told residents.
The ODNR also said no evidence of damage to fish or wildlife was discovered after the agency came and took water samples.
Oberfield also said in her letter, “The material leak did not occur on the site of Emerald digester and was a result of an equipment failure. The hose leak has no direct relationship to the operation of Emerald’s digester. It is rather an event tied to land application operations managed by an experienced and well-respected certified land application contractor.”
She also said social media reports of “entire rivers worth of material being spilled are inaccurate.”
“Fortunately, there was zero impact to wildlife and the environment was not adversely impacted given the low volume of material involved and the excellent emergency response by Raw Handling and Renergy,” Oberfield said.
She then cited her company’s commitment to the environment.
“Renergy will continue to fight for the environment by conserving landfill space, producing renewable energy, and providing waste management options that are sustainable.”
Emerald opened here in September 2013. Residents have been upset for the past several years with foul odors they say are caused by the biodigester, as well as the noise from trucks hauling materials into the facility.