Compost Controversy Brings Another Look

Compost amendment goes back to planning. The proposed county zoning amendment would keep the size limit of composting operations in rec/ag zoning to five acres but allow the introduction of up to 1,000 cubic yards of food waste per year. The introduction of meat and dairy waste product would be prohibited; only fruits and vegetables would be allowed. The emission of “generally agreed to be obnoxious” odors would be prohibited.

The Cassgram reports it was some broad terminology in the amendment (such as the wording on the odors) that had the county attorney and the Cass County Board of Commissioners asking for more definite standards in case there are complaints filed about an operation.

Andy Harpenau of Polished Properties—the composting operation on 296th Street that wants to add food waste to its compost mix—told the board there is a device called an olfactometer that monitors odor intensity. A third party would operate the meter and could determine if there is a problem if a complaint is made.

Commissioners tabled Amendment 63 until the zoning office and planning commission have a chance to learn more about the olfactometer and how its use can be incorporated into the county’s zoning regulations on composting sites.

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