Lowell biodigester working to resolve odor issue

Operators for a Lowell energy plant say their $200,000 project could be the solution to the stench in the city.

LOWELL, MICH. - Operators for a Lowell energy plant say their $200,000 project could be the solution to the stench in the city.

Three weeks ago, Lowell Energy AD suspended most of its operation to figure out what was causing the smell. The biodigester plant converts farm and food waste into electricity. 

The company has until November 1 to fix the issue, but all residents are holding their breath. 

"We’ve been dealing with this for so long, I don’t believe they know exactly what’s wrong with it," Lowell resident Pamela Krzysik said. "I know they brought in some experts. I’m hopeful but I don’t think it’s going to happen."

But company officials are confident their latest attempt at mitigating the foul odor will work.

"We covered the waste water pre-treatment tank," Managing member of Lowell Energy AD, Greg Northrup, said.  "We're also capturing all the odors that were inside the building because we have feed stocks that are in tanks, so we're capturing all the internal odors coming from inside the building."
 
All of the odors would make their way into a tank filled with carbon pebbles. Northrup says the pebbles capture and treat the odor. 
 
But Krzysik isn't too confident.
 
"I'm not, I'm really not," she laughed. "You leave work and it smells fabulous, everything's great,  and you drive into town, you're a block away and it comes into the vents of your vehicle. You don't even want to be in your hometown, you don't want to go home, because your home stinks."
 
 
"That's a good question," Northrup said. "One of the other questions we'll be asking is, was the thought process as good as it should have been? In our case it doesn't matter. The neighbors are the people having to deal with it. It's our responsibility to put in place a plan to deal with the odor issue and that's what we're doing. What happens down the road, was it a good decision, was it a bad decision, who made that decision? That's another discussion."
 
The company has until November 1 to fix the issue. When WZZM asked Northrup if it would be 100% odor free, he said they want to make sure the neighbors can't smell anything anymore. 

(© 2016 WZZM)


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