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biodigester Aug aeriel
Grimsby Energy’s biodigester has been dogged by issues since Day 1,

now officials submit plan to MOEE to deal with non-compliance items

By Mike Williscraft

NewsNow

After a series of non-compliance issues persisted for Grimsby’s biodigester, the Ministry of Energy and Environment finally drew a line in the sand Aug. 1.

“That date was given for hydro officials to submit a report to the MOEE to outline how the non-compliance issues would be dealt with in the coming months,” wrote Gary Wheeler, MOEE spokesman in an email to NewsNow.

“Regarding the Grimsby Energy Incorporated, the ministry has identified several non-compliance issues at the site.”

While the issues, in some cases go back well over a year, there may be some willingness to comply now.

“The company submitted their plan to the ministry by August 1st. Ministry staff are reviewing the submission,” noted Wheeler.

“The renewable energy approval requires measures to reduce noise emissions from the facility, such as silencers, acoustic louvres, enclosures, absorptive treatment, plenums and barriers. The company has installed an acoustic berm rather than fencing.”

While a sound attenuation fence was part of the site’s approval process, the berm was not an approved substitute. Wheeler could not say if that would an issue in the future.

Key among the biodigester issues was the manner in which digestate – the leftovers after the input material has gone through the system.

After information was provided to NewsNow about a meeting between hydro officials and the MOEE to review this matter, an inquiry was sent to Grimsby Mayor Bob Bentley, Grimsby Power board chair Joe Panetta and Grimsby Energy board chair Shafee Bacchus.

Bentley replied.

“Not sure there is any benefit to provide actual info as he (NewsNow)will spin whatever negative message he wants but in the end he will have to agree it is great for the Community, regardless of how far back in history he wants to keep going,” wrote Bentley, as part of several rambling emails.

Subsequently, he denied any issue with the digestate.

The MOEE’s facts contradict those of Bentley.

“Ministry staff recently met with the Grimsby Energy Incorporated to discuss an amendment to the Renewable Energy Approval (REA). The amendment relates to the way digestate (left over waste material) is managed. The ministry has not yet received an amendment request from the company,” noted Wheeler.

“To be clear, the digestate material is not considered toxic. The material is a processed organic waste. The company (Grimsby Energy)  has expressed a desire to apply for an amendment to their renewable energy approval. The amendment relates to the management of the digestate/processed organic waste. The ministry would review the amendment application prior to making a decision on the amendment request.”

Grimsby Energy is seeking approval to manage the digestate on-site under provincial exemption set out for agricultural source digestate in Regulation 347 – General Waste Management.

“The company’s current renewable energy approval does not allow the company to manage the digestate with more than 50 per cent agricultural source material. Originally, the company did not project using this much agricultural source waste when they originally applied for the renewable energy approval,” said Wheeler.

Regarding the Aug. 1 submission to the MOEE, Wheeler said some non-compliance issues have yet to be dealt with.

“The ministry issued a Provincial Officer’s Order to the company requiring them to assess and correct non-compliance issues. The company retained several consultants to assess the entire operation for compliance with its approval,” noted Wheeler.

“The company has addressed some compliance issues, but is still required to submit a detailed assessment and compliance plan to the ministry. The company is working with the ministry to address the outstanding order items.”

NewsNow has filed a Freedom Of Information Act (FOI) request to the MOEE to obtain a copy of the report submitted dealing with non-compliance issues for the Aug. 1 deadline. Nothing has been forthcoming as yet.

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