3/30/21
PUBLIC INTEREST CENTER, (614) 644-2160
MEDIA CONTACT: Anthony Chenault
CITIZEN CONTACT: Jessica Langdon

Ohio EPA Issues Permit for Emerald BioEnergy

Updated requirements for facility in Westfield Township, Morrow County

Ohio EPA has issued a permit renewal to Emerald BioEnergy in Westfield Township 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.

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. 

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. 

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The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.

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