Thursday, June 6, 2013

Anaerobic digestion tabled in Franklin

The Town Council heard from more residents than the Planning Board did and decided to 'table' the proposal to bring an anaerobic digestion plant to town owned land on Pond St. The former sewer property has sat unused since 1978 when Franklin joined with the neighboring communities in the Charles River Pollution Control District sending its sewerage to the plant in Medway.

Development efforts over the years have come and gone and the land seemed to be a good spot for the anaerobic digestion plant. Franklin officials had performed some due diligence in visiting a couple of sites one in MA and one in MI. They coordinated with MA DEP who would also be involved in the permitting process. The MA DEP folks were present for the Planning Board meeting but their lack of presence at the Town Council meeting on Weds did not help the matter.

The due diligence prepared to answer a number of questions and the intent was to get to the RFP stage where additional questions would be better answered. The bottom line benefit of approximately 500,000 to $1 million dollars was not sufficient to overcome the unanswered questions and concerns.

  • How safe is this technology really?
  • Is our fire department prepared to handle a fire or explosion?
  • Adding the truck traffic to the intersection will make a bad situation even worse
  • What guarantees are there about the air quality?
  • Do you expect us to trust the EPA and DEP on air quality standards?

In the end, Councilor Glenn Jones made the motion to table the proposal rather than have it be brought up and voted down. This does allow the Economic Development Committee to do the additional work to answer the questions if they want. Given the amount of hurdles to be overcome I think it is not likely to make much further progress. Granted Franklin needs to expand its revenue base,  (long time readers may recall I have mentioned almost yearly about "expanding the pie"), the consensus seems to be we can do much better than this.

For the full set of notes reported live from the Town Council meeting, you can check these:

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