DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Renergy Inc., a bioenergy company, has agreed to permanently close down its organic waste treatment facility in Greene County after facing continued complaints about foul odors.
The Greene County facility, located at 1156 Herr Road in Bath Township, is one of two digester facilities operated by Renergy. The other is in Morrow County. The digesters use bacteria to treat manure and other organic materials.
In response, Renergy has agreed to close the Greene County digester facility. This decision prompted the request for final judgment that Yost’s Environmental Enforcement Section submitted Wednesday to the Greene County Common Pleas Court.
The filing asks the court to require the Greene County Renergy site to:
- Stop accepting feedstock and waste by Oct. 1, 2023.
- Empty the digestate storage tank by Dec. 15, 2023.
- Empty and clean the digester and other equipment by Jan. 15, 2024.
- Submit documentation of the emptying and cleaning by Jan. 30, 2024.
- Request termination of its permits and certify that the facility is permanently shut down by Jan. 31, 2024.
The filing also asks the court to impose an additional $25,000 in penalties, for a total of $100,000 in penalties, to be suspended if Renergy complies with the requirements.
“Renergy’s shutdown will eliminate both the environmental problems in this case and the olfactory nuisance that the site has become,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said. “I am asking the court to approve our proposed order so Renergy can move swiftly and properly with a safe cleanup.”
Yost’s legal request is contingent upon approval from the Common Pleas judge presiding over the case.
Yost’s announcement was exciting news for a group of people that has been fighting for changes to be made to this facility for years. The Bath Biodigester Concerned Citizens groups is made up of nearly one thousand people. They had to deal with years of horrible, rancid smell around their homes. They could not open their windows or spend time outside because of the smell. They were also concerned about the types of chemicals they were inhaling. Donnie Smith said he is excited to start living a normal life again.
“Our kids can finally go outside and play without smelling poop all day long. We can finally open our windows up during nice days outside instead of having our AC on. So I’m happy about that,” Smith said.
The group has led a grassroots effort to get Renergy to make changes that would mitigate the smell. They just wanted the company to put a cover over the digester to contain the smell. Although this announcement is a win for them, they are still going to push lawmakers to have better oversight of these facilities. Sarah Fulton hopes state legislators will pass HB 193, which would put additional requirements these facilities.
“This is definitely important for us and our community, but this exists in other areas of the state and there is legislation in committee right now that we are hopeful can protect other communities from having to rally together like this and fight on an individual community basis. And I’d really like to see that legislation move through committee so that other communities are protected from having to go through what we’ve been through over the last six years,” Fulton explained.