Not In My Backyard

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Residents voice opposition to a proposed study involving horse manure

By Kirsten Laskey

Flies, stench and safety concerns surrounding a proposed study of anaerobic digestion on local horse manure were voiced by residents in an e-mail to county planner Gary Leikness, which was distributed during a Dec. 7 county council meeting.
The anaerobic digester requires about 30 days to start up and two to three months to perform a full digestion, said Olga Chertkov, who wrote the e-mail and spoke at the meeting. The time to perform the digestion combined with the months required to build up a biomass inventory will produce a significant amount of flies and a pungent odor at the North Mesa Stables and nearby residential area, she said.
The digester also could create safety issues because the process to digest manure produces methane, which becomes highly explosive when mixed with air, Chertkov said. Also, digester gas is heavier than air and displaces oxygen, which can potentially suffocate humans and animals.
“People may get hurt,” she said.
The proposed scale at which to build the
anaerobic digester is not economically sound, Chertkov said in her e-mail to council. It would take a farm operating 8,000-10,000 animals to turn a profit. The North Mesa Stables has about 200 horses, she said.
Chertkov recommends moving the study to the waste treatment plant or the landfill.

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