SEAFORD, Del. – BioEnergy Devco is a company focused on using Anaerobic Digester to turn organic waste into renewable natural gas or energy, and healthy soil. Seaford’s facility currently turns food waste into compost. “We had to become more effective on how to manage materials that other people consider waste, where many people consider the opportunity,” says Peter Ettinger, Chief Strategy Officer at BioEnergy.
The goal would be to expand the facility and collect more poultry waste. This would help reduce water pollution as well as greenhouse gas emissions. The compost would be removed from the area to clean up our waterways. “Allow you to environmentally in a smart way manage waste that typically would go to an incinerator or typically go to a landfill and be able to create these great products from it,” says Ettinger. He adds, “So not only are we dealing with business issues but were also dealing with smart environmental issues.”
Ettinger tells us that these Anaerobic Digestioners have been flourishing all across Europe and that states are benefitting from these types facilities for their agriculture business and climate. “Waste, we all eat we all create waste, whether you’re in the poultry industry or whether you’re in the consumer or organics industry, there is a material that today is not going to be taken to landfill it is not going to be taken to incineration,” says Ettinger. He adds, “Let’s be able to bring the materials here to an Anaerobic Digester, let’s put that in a completely enclosed process, let’s make sure that we manage the air. We manage the water, we manage healthy soil, and let’s be able to go and do something important not only to the community but be able to go and support an industry that’s so important here in Sussex County.”
Chris Bason, an environmentalist and executive director for the Delaware Center for Inland Bays says both can be addressed through this facility. “It’s really important that this facility succeed and be done right and regulated because we would benefit from more of these facilities.” He adds, “It’s a really important development for our area and it needs to be taken seriously.”
While BioEnergy is trying to help the environment by turning waste into compost, some community groups aren’t too keen on the idea. “We believe that the production of this biogas from this facility will lead to air pollution, water pollution, and ultimately worsen climate change,” says Greg Layton, with Delaware Food and Water Watch.
According to Layton this facility will cause more harm than good. Layton tells 47 ABC, Delmarva has some of the highest levels of nitrate solution, and he says this facility wouldn’t help. Layton tells us that it could cause traffic congestions and increase methane concerns. “The current proposal is just a false solution, it won’t solve the problem with poultry pollution, in fact, it’ll just make money off of it and worsen the problem,” says Layton. He adds, “We believe we should phase out factory farms hopefully with government support to transition farmers to more sustainable methods to raising agriculture, and raising poultry.”
Bason and Ettinger agree that the benefits far outweigh any concerns. They and other environmental groups are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure it happens. “It’s not just water pollution that has to be taken seriously, we need to make sure there’s no run-off from the site but it’s also air quality,” says Bason. Ettinger quotes Senator Tom Carper and adds, “When asked do I have to choose a healthy environment or a healthy poultry industry, said I’ll choose both.”
Food and Water Watch and Delaware Working Families Party will go door-todoor Saturday afternoon to Seaford residents in the hopes of stopping the facility’s expansion.
BioEnergy, which is currently in the permit approval process with DNREC, is awaiting approval. If that happens, there will also be a public hearing.
Officials at BioEnergy state that they are open to having discussions with the community and giving tours of the facility.
Click here to reach BioEnergy for more information and to book a tour. Here.