Sniff Test For Compost Site

Conditional use permit approved. The renewal of the permit for Soil Dynamics’ (Polished Properties) composting operation is different this time because a specified amount and type of food waste will now be allowed into the compost mix.

The Cassgram reports the new request was made possible last September when the Cass County Board of Commissioners approved a county zoning amendment that keeps the size limit of composting operations in rec/ag zoning at five acres but allows the introduction of up to 1,000 cubic yards of food waste per year. The introduction of meat and dairy waste products are prohibited; only fruits and vegetables are allowed. The emission of odor is prohibited.

Polished Properties, the composting operation on 296th Street in northwest Cass County, needed to obtain the conditional use permit before the food waste could be added.

Since the issue first came before the county about a year ago, the food waste addition has been opposed by some nearby businesses and by many individuals who have residential property in the Horseshoe Lake area. Their arguments before the county board and county planning commission centered mainly on fears about odor, insect and rodent problems. At the public hearing this week, several stated they support the goal of recycling but said the Soil Dynamics location is not the right spot because of the unique recreational and pristine aspects of the I-80 corridor in Cass County.

Following over an hour of testimony from those for and against the issuance of the permit, the board passed a motion to approve the permit on a 4 to 1 vote. District 1 Commissioner John Warsing voted no. There was no discussion among board members while the motion was on the table.

The county planning commission had recommended approval.

---As far as odor control, Andy Harpeneau of Soil Dynamics said a 4-person panel will be established that will take “sniff tests” at locations around the compost site, identifying and describing odors the best they can. The compost operator will know which part of the site the samples are from and then, in response to any complaint, will know where the problem area is so it can be taken care of. Harpeneau submitted the plan in writing so the county board knows what steps will be taken to combat any fugitive odors.


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