Lowell biodigester misses dismantling deadline

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LOWELL, Mich. (WOOD) — While the biodigester that stunk up Lowell for months is no longer running, the city manager warns it could still emit an odor.

City Manager Michael Burns said earlier this week that “considerable complexities still needed to be worked through” and the biodigester would not be fully dismantled by Monday’s deadline. However, Burns said city leaders and city-owned Lowell Light and Power were making “significant progress” toward the goal.

Lowell Energy AD owns and operates the biodigester. The company was cited and fined several times this summer, and eventually given a Nov. 1 deadline to fix the problem and stop the rancid smell — or cease operations until they do.

A month later, city council members and Lowell Light & Power set a deadline for Lowell Energy AD to dismantle the plant and terminate its lease and contract. Burns said city leaders have met with the private company three times since then.

The biodigester at 625 Chatham Street is no longer operational and the city has revoked Lowell Energy AD’s wastewater discharge permit, according to Burns.

He said while the biodigester’s tanks are now empty, the recent cold has prevented crews from power washing the facility, which means the biodigester could still emit an odor.

City officials plan to hold two more meetings with Lowell Energy AD over the next two weeks to resolve this issue.

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