Good Thunder compost facility seeks new permits; plans for odor reduction

·3 min read

Oct. 5—GOOD THUNDER — A composting facility near Good Thunder that hasn't accepted food waste since June of 2019 is seeking new permits from the county and state to resume operations.

Gary, Kevin and David Fitzsimmons are applying to operate under the name MFS Recycling.

The former facility was plagued by complaints by neighbors about odor, and Blue Earth County Property and Environmental Resources Director Michael Stalberger says the business has revised its business and operation plans to address odor issues.

"Some of the odor issues were the result of inadequate operating decisions made by the operator at the time. That operator is no longer involved," Stalberger said. "They've brought in different procedures. They've changed the products they're accepting — most of the odor was from a biproduct of the ethanol process and they're not accepting that anymore."

County staff has recommended the Planning & Zoning Commission approve the application, accompanied by 15 conditions staff recommended. The Commission will consider the issue at their meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6. The meeting is in the commissioners room in the courthouse.

It will also be livestreamed: blueearthcountymn.gov/PC-Meeting. Meeting ID: 951 8086 7112 Passcode: 603074

If the commission and then the County Board signs off, MFS will then seek required state permits.

MFS has been operating under its existing permits. While it hasn't accepted any waste for more than two years it has been working through processing large piles of compost that were on the site. Those piles have been worked through significantly, Stalberger said.

MFS is also going to be more restrictive on who they take food wastes from. They plan to use a lot of institutional sources, such as large food production facilities that need a place to send biproducts or food that didn't meet food standards or is expired.

MFS Recycling is also seeking to recycle cardboard boxes that waste food might be delivered in, such as from large bakeries that have old bread that is in boxes.

"So the bread might come in big boxes and they would recycle that cardboard and get it into the market rather than it going in a landfill," Stalberger said.

There would be no public recycling facility at MFS Recycling.

MFS also plans to work with Ag Solutions of Mapleton to create a product called Living Carbon. Ag Solutions would bring gypsum, calcite, and dairy compost, to blend with MFS compost to create Living Carbon. It is a natural soil amendment that would be sold for use on farmland.

"Products that are used in Living Carbon are all either rock or finished compost so there is virtually no odor and material is being mixed/moved frequently to reduce potential odors," according to the application.

Some of the conditions added by staff include ensuring trucks are loaded to minimize spillage on roads, that dust control be done on the the proposed gravel haul route, that operations be done in a manner that does not create a nuisance and that a closure plan be included for when the facility is no longer in use.

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