Showing posts with label Anaerobic digestion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anaerobic digestion. Show all posts

Saturday, July 13, 2013

"a solution that meets multiple economic and environmental goals"

Changes in the food waste handling regulations talked of during the anaerobic digestion discussion last month have been formally announced.
If approved, the commercial food waste ban, drawn by the state Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), would take effect by July 1, 2014. 
Large institutions that dispose of at least one ton of organic waste per week must ship the food that cannot be donated or recycled to an anaerobic digester facility, composting operation or animal-feed operation, according to the proposal. 
Not included in the ban is residential food waste. 
In a statement, Rick Sullivan, the secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said: "Banning commercial food waste and supporting the development of (anaerobic digester) facilities across the commonwealth is critical to achieving our aggressive waste disposal reduction goals."

Read more:

For more about the anaerobic digestion proposal discussed at the Town Council meeting

For more about the anaerobic digestion proposal discussed at the Planning Board meeting

Friday, June 7, 2013

'money isn’t the most important thing'

As reported during the Town Council meeting on Wednesday night, the anaerobic digestion proposal was tabled.
The questions about anaerobic digestion, a biological process that converts organic waste into energy, overshadowed the positives of the burgeoning technology. 
With support from the Economic Development Committee, Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting and officials in the Department of Planning and Community Development had hoped to tweak the zoning to allow for an anaerobic digester facility on the former Pond Street sewer bed.
Read more from the Milford Daily News article here

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:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Live reporting - Legislation continued (anaerobic digestion dies a quick death)

14.Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-702: Changes to Chapter 185, Section 36. Impervious Surfaces – 1st Reading
motion to waive reading, motion to move to second reading
both passed 9-0

15.Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-703: Changes to Chapter 185, Section 40. Water Resource District – 1st Reading
motion to waive reading, motion to move to second reading
both passed 9-0

16.Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-716: Changes to Chapter 185, Section 3. Definitions – 1st Reading
motion to waive reading, motion to move to second reading
both passed 9-0

17.Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-717: Changes to Chapter 185, Attachment 9, Schedule of Lot, Area, Frontage, Yard and Height Requirements – 1st Reading
motion to waive reading, motion to move to second reading
both passed 9-0

18.Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-714: Changes to Chapter 185-3. Definitions – 1st Reading
motion to table, not debatable, passed 9-0

19.Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-715: Changes to Chapter 185-7. Compliance Required – 1st Reading
motion to table, not debatable, passed 9-0

Live reporting: anaerobic digestion plant presentation

the four zoning bylaws for impervious surfaces are being heard together

  • Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-702: Changes to Chapter 185, Section 36. Impervious Surfaces – Continued from May 15th
  • Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-703: Changes to Chapter 185, Section 40. Water Resource District – Continued from May 15
  • Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-716: Changes to Chapter 185, Section 3. Definitions
  • Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-717: Amendment to Chapter 185, Attachment 9. Schedule of Lot, Area, Frontage, Yard and Height Requirements

no audience comments

hearing closed


  • Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-714: Changes to Chapter 185-3. Definitions
  • Zoning Bylaw Amendment 13-715: Changes to Chapter 185-7. Compliance Required.

The presentation was initially posted here

Income to the town potential of $500K to $1M depending upon the amount of power generated.

State mandate coming for large food waste producers (i.e institutions, schools, etc.) would be targeted

Buffer would be maintained around property to help insulate the neighbors from seeing much if anything. That the land slopes down toward i495 also helps to reduce the building or towers from view from other than i495.

Did have smell issues with initial start-up and those were resolved and not reappearing since then.

50 mile radius for food waste draw in MI, anticipated to be less, likely 35 miles or so due to the density of the area around Franklin.

The DEP presentation was not covered in detail as DEP representatives were not present to cover questions. Many communities are looking at the same technology.

What the town is looking to do is to ask the Council for issuance of an RFP to see if there is interest and proceed from there?

There are economic benefits. Issues we see certainly would be with truck traffic coming through the interchange. Other than the general truck traffic, I don't see a real traffic issue.

Compliance with air quality will be EPA and DEP arena

Anthony Dibello, resident, engineer workings for a medical company
I didn't hear about the by-products, I didn't hear about the mitigation for this. I don't want it in my backyard.

Bryan Taberner, while you are producing an RFP you'll be doing additional research to put the protection in place. If you decide to stop the process, you can do so at anytime. Did air quality testing at Edwards Air Force base and the air quality testing and permitting process is intensive.

When things work well they are probably fine, when they don't work well that is a problem

Sandy Rohagen, resident about 3 blocks away
a zoning change would leave us unprotected
Tri-County has 20 buses going in and out of that area, adding trucks to the traffic would not improve the situation
The pre-school right next door would likely go out of business as parents would not want to trust leaving their kids in such a situation.

Selena Cousin, resident on Beech St
had an uncle with the EPA research where the brownfields were and avoided
do the research in this area, with the experts in the field
I am all for the environment and recylcing, I don't think we need to known as the anaerobic power plant
what happens in the case of a fire, in case of an explosion
what will we find years down the road?
The money is not worth the risk

Gail Ward
will be voting tonight?

it is a two step process, zoning bylaw requires two votes
if it is positive tonight, then it would come back

permit going for would only allow for processing the food waste

Rob Baylow, echoing sentiment of my neighbors
we can do better than 11 jobs, especially with putting the day care center out of work
what about the smell? can you put that in the RFP?
if the air quality is fine according to the standard, how do you enforce that?

There isn't a smell, the negative air pressure keeps out the smell, anaerobic means without 'air'

Rob if the visit to MI was in the winter, maybe the smell would be more noticeable if it was summer
what about the trucks?

this was addressed the other night, we can't guarantee it but we can control the quality of the vehicles when they arrive

Tony Padula
I voted not to recommend this, we just changed zoning to make more business in this area, we are already watching more businesses coming into the area. With another 80 trips coming in and out, you're likely to get 4-5 cars through now

do we have a fire dept that can take care of this? can we handle the hazards? we have a day care center, a school? I am on the Planning Board, I think we can do better

Glenn Jones
I have sat through the Planning Board meeting and everything here tonight
I didn;t want having an unattractive commercial business in our backyard
as Chair of the Economic Development Committee, we want to find places and companies to increase revenues. This was proposed as a specific use for this property. It gains revenue for the town/ We are going to be entering into a new age where food waste will be taken out of the landfills, and into something like this. The corner is a tough one, it is a residential neighborhood.
We had been looking forward to getting citizen input for this process.

Taberner - it could be allowed in an industrial zone as a light industrial use
Jones - I think I would move this back to the Economic Development Committee for further review

Bissanti - I grew u playing near the sewer beds, I had no idea this would be coming here. I don't think the money would be right for a sophisticated community like Franklin. I am not totally convinced about air quality. Hydrogen sulfide sounds awfully scary to me. The technology sounds great. We are behind on this development compared to other countries. All the garbage of the Metro areas coming to Franklin. One of the things we would face is the perception of that

Powderly - there are too many unanswered questions in my mind to move forward with this. I support the technology idea but because the property is inconvenient it shouldn't be shoe horned into this space. I am not in favor of this

Mercer - I think there are too many unanswered questions, I would support Councilor Jones efforts to move this back to the EDC

Dellorco - Coming to Franklin would be turn at the silos? No, I don't like the sounds of that.

Roy - there are unanswered questions, my concern is how will we go about getting the answers. My understanding was this vote would get us to the RFP process to explore further. We would visit the question whether we would move forward. I am not in favor of a project of this magnitude. I am in favor of more exploration, whatever advances getting answers to the questions I am in favor.

Kelly - I agree with sending this back to the EDC, I commend Councilor Jones for bringing this forward as we need new sources of revenue.

hearing closed

Anaerobic digestion - presentation document

The presentation document as used for the Planning Board meeting on Monday.

The presentation is likely similar if not the same as will be reviewed with the Town Council this evening.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Anaerobic digestion is 'not recommended' by the Planning Board

The Planning Board heard the joint presentation by Jeff Nutting, Town Administrator and MassDEP representatives, had questions and still wants to learn more about the proposal for the anaerobic digestion plant. They did move the two zoning bylaws to the Town Council with votes of "not to recommend".

listening to J Nutting
Bryan Taberner, Beth Dahlstrom, Mike Magilo, Jeff Nutting, James  Doucett, Martin Souberg

The Town Council will have a public hearing on Wednesday for the zoning bylaw changes. The presentation will likely be repeated in whole or at least in part for the audience at that meeting. The zoning bylaw change is the first step to this proposal.

With the change in zoning accepted, the Town could open a Request for a Proposal (RFP) to see what companies would step up to offer to lease the land and operate the anaerobic digestion plant. If the RFP brought in sufficient dollars for the Town Council to accept, then the contract negotiations would commence along with the permitting process.

food waste, solid waste
one driver for anaerobic digestion is to remove food waste from solid waste

The permitting process would be multi-level with permits required from MassDEP. The Planning Board would come back into action when the company and/or developer would cone with their site plan.

Handling the truck traffic through the interchange at Franklin Village to get to Pond St would be just one of many issues to be addressed. Adding 50-80 trips through the interchange doesn't sound like much but these trips would be trucks, rather large tankers the likes of which we see going to Garelick Farms. Add one or two of those to the line of cars heading east on RT 140 attempting the left turn onto Pond St and see how far the traffic extends its back up. The traffic already backs up sufficiently that the cars in the left turn lane prevent the through traffic from making further progress east on RT 140.

The collection of posts reported live from the Planning Board meeting Monday, June 3 can be found here

Monday, June 3, 2013

Live reporting - anaerobic disgestion

(copy of presentation to be added later) Added 6/4/13

Jeff Nutting presenting, there will be a further update at the Town Council meeting on Weds.

2 changes to allow the single use for this property
would put out an Request For Proposal (RFP)
Franklin would maintain ownership and lease the land
maintain a large buffer area, visited a similar plant and there is no noise
potentially allow for installation of solar panels
did visit one in Rutland, MA, more of a dairy operation not what we want to use here
did also visit Fremont, MI which is more like the use planned for here
possible permit process to commence by Jan 2014 with construction completed late 2016

33 acres the site of the sewer beds until 1978
the digester is not a sewer plant, negative air pressure to control

income to the town for the lease
est between $500,000 to $1M per year

21e assessment was performed to ensure a clean bill of health for the property
no environmental issues to be concerned with currently on the property

buildings are 40 foot tall, sited along Pond St, would effectively be hidden on the lot

Fremont 3 megawatt operation, compared to the proposal talked of about 6-8 megawatts

decibel level could not exceed 45 which is the talking voice sound

food waste creates methane gas which burns to create electricity to send out to the grid

lab operates to maintain proper pH levels

Fremont MI is the home of Gerber Baby food, so bad batches and other waste comes to the plant
the company operates in about a 50 mile radius, they operate their own trucks
approx 30-50 trucks per day

James Doucett, Deputy Director Business Compliance Division, BWP, MassDEP
Martin Souberg, Deputy Commissioner, MassDep

an important element in the solid waste master plan, take as much as can be recycled out of the stream
attempting to reduce 355 solid tons per year of solid food waste
banning disposal of food waste from large food operations, to encourage recycling
diversion from land fills, reduction of green house gases
taken steps to stream line permitting, state also looking to develop capacity at state owned site to promote the process

food waste = 15-20% of the disposal totals

could include other yard and agricultural waste with the food waste

publicly owned treatment works (POTW)

4 farm-based digesters in development, Germany has thousands of these units

two types of systems, wet or dry
Franklin's would be a dry system

dry means operating into a negative air pressure to maintain the smells within the facility
28 day batch cycle

"what would happen in case of an upset condition"

Michelle, Beech St
all the input sounds lovely, I want to know what all the exports will do
Franklin is not the place to be doing this in a residential area

Matt Young, Eldon Drive
concerned about the trucks, $1M is not that much money
I think the risk and reward is not that great, whose going to pay for the roads
I am sure there are many more issues, I think this is a bad choice

Nutting - the power plant would fit inside this room
maybe the travel for the trucks wouldn't be so far as we are more dense

Glenn Jones, Town Councilor
Chair of Economic Development Committee
was a sewer bed, an office park fell through, the particular property is a good fit for this use
one of the issues the town faces is balancing the budget, the $1M would help towards fixing fixing our roads and other things, to generate revenue
the power plants in our area communities dump out more than this plant would
this plant has been used throughout Europe, very few reports of incidents

Judy Pfeffer, Town Councilor
waste ban regulation has not yet gone out for comment

James - what we are hoping to provide is an incentive for creating additional waste uses

Judy - if it isn't built yet, how do we know it is going to get here? Who owns the trucks to bring it here? What about the truck traffic in a residential area?

While the ban is not yet out, it is coming.
The state is also identifying its own sites, including Norfolk, MA

Andy Bissanti, we as Councilors still have questions and reserve the right to make our comments and decisions

"The issue is the same as with a natural gas fired furnace"

"The methane would go up into the air, it is lighter than air"

If a truck spilled,  it would be containing food waste

Halligan - There will be traffic whatever goes there, I am not so concerned about that. Do we have a fire department trained for this, or special equipment for this?

Nutting - Franklin belongs to a regional hazmat unit, I don't see us investing anything in this

Halligan - will the delivery trucks be sealed delivery trucks? If they can be guaranteed to be enclosed, that would be good. The main thing is the revenue, I would like to see something where we have a guaranteed fixed lease.

Nutting - the proposed zoning change allows the Town Council to have an RFP. The real dollar answers will come with the RFP's, this is no different for an RFP to sell the land. I can't sit here today and guarantee a price. There are lots of checks and balances along the way. The zoning, the site plan, the Council RFP process, the intent is to allow the plan to continue so the Council can have their say. This is only the beginning of a long process.

Halligan - my main concern is for safety

Nutting - if it is a tanker it is sealed, I don't see why that couldn't be included in the RFP.

Halligan - the towns out west are getting these as a right from their farm, we want to avoid that here

Halligan - as a resident and property owner, I would donate $5000 to get an independent appraisal for this to be explained to both Board.

Rondeau - what is the typical life expectancy?
Nutting - 30-40 years, other than replacing part, there not alot to do

Rondeau - when the facility is up and done, are we going to be stuck with another NuStyle?
Nutting - that would have to be part of the process

Rondeau - what size would the tanks be?

David - Would traffic studies be done?
Nutting - I think you would be looking at that, you usually look at peak hours. You could have a traffic study. That would be a planning board issue.

David - wet land?
Nutting - 20 plus acres of upland, some wetlands, we would have to remove the sewer things

David - what about adding a ramp of i495
Nutting - given the federal government, that would be a 10 year process

Town of Bourne did an RFP process and they are farther along, they have thought about and have worked into the process

Nutting - we have a copy of the Bourne RFP and one from Lexington. There are not going to be three dozen of these in the Commonwealth. Once several of these are built, that would take the food waste off the capacity proposed

Halligan - why is Franklin so site specific?
Nutting - we are looking for use for the site, investigating all the things that may or may not happen. The power plant went up in Bellingham, and other than seeing the steam in the air in winter, how many know it is really there?

Haven't heard of any exposures to any of the gases? Why haven't we heard of any answers?

Town of Fairhaven put in two digesters at their waste water facility

here to make a vote to recommend or not for the zoning change, whatever we do the Town Council still has their say

Padula - the town has a revenue issue, we have tried before to utilize this land, the residential folks will be required to separate the food waste in about 2016-17 to help serve these type systems

Martin (MassDEP) We think this is where we are going to get a large benefit from the institutional approach
We are encouraging this, we also have a permitting role to ensure they meet the standard for air quality. A number of agencies are looking for this

Nutting - there are seven more steps along this process, before the Town ultimately making this decision, we have to ensure for the health and welfare of the residents. I am not a scientist so I can not answer those questions.

Nutting - if the company didn't own the trucks, we can still set the standards on what can be used, we have a right to work with the contractor to determine what type the vehicles are

Padula - for $500,000 annually, for the quality of life that would change? That intersection will be a disaster with 80 trips a day and it is already bad today.

Dahlstrom - definition of anaerobic digestion bylaw (see copy of bylaws as proposed) and change to 185-7 with an allowed by right

Nutting - if that property ever gets developed, 40 vehicle trips will be minuscule. Sequencing the intersection will be needed under any circumstances, traffic will be an issue no matter what happens there..

Halligan - I don't think I am for the project or against the project, I just am not educated on this enough. It is all too new for me.

motion to recommend, not seconded
motion to not recommend, seconded, approved with one no

motion to not recommend, seconded, approved with one no

This does go to the Town Council for discussion but the Planning Board did NOT recommend it

Planning Board - June 3, 2013 - Agenda

The agenda for the Planning Board meeting has two public hearings. The continuation of one on some bylaw changes for impervious surfaces and the opening of one on the anaerobic digestion proposal.

The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers on the 2nd floor of the Municipal Bldg. The meeting is also scheduled for broadcast via Comcast and Verizon on your local cable channels. You can also view the meeting with your PC via the on-demand connection here:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Where would the anaerobic digester be located?


Changes to §185-3. Definitions



Chapter 185 of the Code of the Town of Franklin is hereby amended by the following
addition, added into §185-3 Definitions in alphabetical order:
ANAEROBIC DIGESTER - A structure or series of structures where a biological
process, anaerobic digestion, breaks down or “digests” organic waste materials in the
absence of oxygen, and through utilization of separators, biogas recovery systems and
other processes, produces digestate and biogas, which are further processed for
production of soil amendment, fertilizer, electric energy, pipeline quality natural gas, and
similar commercial products.
The foregoing Zoning By-law amendment shall take effect in accordance with the
Franklin Home Rule Charter and Massachusetts General Law Chapter 40A, Section 5.

The public hearing and presentation will take place before the Planning Board, Monday, June 3.

Pond St entrance to former sewer facility
Pond St entrance to former sewer facility

Proposed location is on Pond St (next to KinderCare) at the site of the former Franklin sewer facility.

View Larger Map

For more on the public hearing

Friday, May 24, 2013

"It’s kind of a race at this point"

The land has sat unused for sometime now. What is driving the need to develop it? Revenue for one, Franklin is looking creatively to expand its revenue base. Another key driver is the possible DEP regulation as referenced in the Milford Daily News article today:
By 2014, he said, the DEP intends to have a regulation in place that orders all large institutions, such as colleges, prisons, hotels, food processors and convention centers, to separate their food waste from their main waste stream for recycling. 
"The regulation would state that you would have to send it to an anaerobic digester facility or to be composted," Coletta said. 
Presently, Coletta said there are several smaller scale anaerobic digestive systems around the state, but none big enough to handle waste from, say, a college.
Read the full article here

Related post on Anaerobic Digestion

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Anaerobic Digester Presentation - Town of Franklin - Planning Board Mtg June 3rd, 2013

Dear Friends and colleagues,

I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to attend the June 3rd, 7pm meeting of the Town of Franklin Planning Board.

355 East Central Street
Council Chambers – Second Floor
Franklin, MA 02038

During this meeting we will be having a special presentation concerning Anaerobic Digester Plants.

Please come and learn what Anaerobic Digesters are, how they benefit the environment and ultimately how they can benefit our community.

"Think Green, be GREEN!"

Anaerobic digestion definition:

Anaerobic digestion is a biological process making it possible to degrade organic matter by producing biogas which is a renewable energy source and a sludge used as fertilizer.
The production of biogas is carried out in the environment in a natural way (e.g. gas of marshes - vegetable and animal matter decomposition where the formation of bubbles at water surface can be observed).

In the absence of oxygen (anaerobic digestion), the organic matter is degraded partially by the combined action of several types of micro-organisms.   The bacteria which carry out these reactions exist in natural state in the liquid manure and the anaerobic ecosystems; it is not necessary to add more, they develop naturally in a medium without oxygen.
The resulting Methane gas is utilized to run electrical generators.

Federal EPA Anaerobic Digester website link:

Link to Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Anaerobic Digestion website.

Articles pertaining to the Fremont, Michigan Anaerobic Digester Plant.  

In your service,

Glenn F. Jones
Franklin Town Council
Chairman - Economic Development Committee