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Monday, November 2, 2009

Dodge County residents say they don’t have complaints about digester

From an article by Christine Won from The Journal Times (Racine):

TOWN OF PORTLAND - Several residents living near a Dodge County processing plant that converts manure into electricity said they don't notice odor problems or have any complaints.

The dairy farm near Waterloo that has an anaerobic digester, like the one being proposed for Yorkville in Racine County to convert organic waste into methane gas to produce electricity, has gotten a positive response from its surrounding community since its installment in 2007, both residents and farm owners agree.

Robert and Ruth Yerges live about half a mile east of the dairy farm. They smell about a fourth of the odor from manure than they did before the digester, Robert Yerges said. The digester was one of the best things for the dairy farm, Ruth Yerges added.

"We estimate that we eliminate about 85 percent of the smell (of manure) by having it go through the digester," said Thomas Crave, one of the four owners of Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese.

The three Yorkville Town Board members toured the Crave Brothers Dairy Farm, W11555 Torpy Road, on Friday morning.

DF-1 Associates, the business group proposing a processing plant at the former Maple Leaf Farms site on Highway U in Yorkville, organized the tour so board members can see and smell what they would be dealing with.

However, a key difference between the Portland and Yorkville plants is feedstock, said Dave Duerson, spokesman for the group. The Portland plant uses cow manure where the Yorkville one would use food waste.

Town Chairman Jim Moyer, himself a farmer, said he was impressed with the Crave plant but "the jury's still out" for Yorkville.

Yorkville residents were not sold when the group presented its proposal before the Town Board on Oct. 12, saying that bringing in trucks of garbage through their neighborhoods would depreciate property values and create odor, noise, traffic and safety concerns.

Crave said there have not been any electrical or methane gas-related problems.

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