Tag Archives: Violations

State Cites Wilmington Compost Plant for New Violations

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Residents in some south Wilmington communities are miffed about state silence on odor concerns in a new violation report on the Peninsula Compost LLC site.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) officials cited the company for “abundant” accumulations of prohibited wastes but made no mention of the chronic smells drifting off the site.

The agency also reported plans to schedule a public hearing on a permit needed for the company to continue operations.

Officials are aware that odor is a “major concern” in surrounding communities and that it is very strong at times, to the point where local residents can’t stay outside.

The odor is really having a compound effect on residents in Southbridge almost to the point of it being unbearable.

Peninsula has implemented a DNREC mandated Odor Minimization and Monitoring Plan and has hired a new General Manager who is focused on improving the overall operations, minimizing odors being a top priority. They seem to be committed to the improvement of their operations, but this isn’t the first time they were cited and will probably not be the last.

Peninsula opened in 2009 with a permit to compost up to 160,000 tons of materials a year using a high-tech, rapid composting method using special fabric covers for part of the process. Food wastes, yard waste, animal bedding and other woody wastes come in from Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and New York City.

Odor complaints, and charges of excessive stockpiling, began not long after operations began. DNREC last year fined the firm $25,000 for a series of violations.

While composting is an option to be utilized by a certain type of customer the challenges in operating them are being put in the spotlight even more now than ever. Odors, herbicide contamination, nutrient run-off, transportation-related energy consumption, and the shortage of facility locations are just a few.

Should NYC be transporting their food waste 260 miles round trip which in turn becomes a burden to Wilmington residents?

For any city or town exploring the idea of hosting a food waste processing facility in order to bring more revenue into that city or town, be prepared for the obnoxious odors and the complaints.

A Cog in the Wheel

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No business is permitted to operate without rules and those that do eventually get caught breaking those very rules.  It seems the Peninsula Compost Company believed that they could just slip through the cracks.

It turns out that the compost facility located in Wilmington, Delaware, has been avoiding a lot of rules, unfortunately for them, the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) discovered the company’s malpractice and is fining them for all of their violations.

Although the initial investigation was brought about by complaints of excessive odors generated by the facility, the source of these odors gave heed to even more violations. It turns out that the facility has been storing waste material outside of the approved boundaries, numerous waste-piles exceeded size-limits, they consistently accept waste materials that are prohibited in such a facility, and are answering to countless financial and record-keeping discrepancies.

All of these violations, piled up, total $25,000.  A fine issued by the DNREC. In addition to the fine, the Peninsula Compost Company has 35 days to clean up their operations.  The current penalty holds the company accountable for their violations while encouraging additional measures to reduce external impacts.

Although there were no issues with the actual compost produced, the violations still represent another major flaw in the composting industry. As we have pointed out numerous times before, composting is not always the best solution.

This facility is the only one of its size in our area accepting organic waste material from Delaware, New Jersey, and New York, specifically New York City.  The violations are a direct result of the volume of food waste coming into the facility.  Adding more waste will likely add to their problems.

NYC recently announced a residential food waste recycling initiative that will be shipping all of its waste to this location.  In order for their plan to be successful, NYC needs this facility out of this legal mess, out from under the microscope of the environmentalists, and ultimately sorted out.  The facility needs to start following the rules otherwise they will be single-handedly responsible for the failure of this plan.