Fr. County Authorities Satisfied With Biofuel Overflow Fix

Franklin County authorities are satisfied with a biofuel plant’s attempts to fix the conditions that caused wood chip toxins to flow into Indian Creek killing the fish.

Last week, Franklin County Manager Beth Thomas, members of the Water Department, Commission Chair Thomas Bridges and County Commissioner Eddie Wester toured the GRP Franklin Renewable Energy Facility at 3465 Highway 198 in Carnesville.

During that tour, Company officials apologized for the contamination of Indian Creek by their employees.

Earlier this month, employees trying to put out smoldering piles of wood chips, used water canons to get to the burning embers inside the huge piles, which caused their holding pond to overflow into the creek, killing the fish.

Thomas said she was impressed with their ownership of the problem.

“When we were there on site we did see that they had made adjustments to keep that from happening again,” she said. “They had sealed off one drain and the second retention pond had a second pump in so the water would go to another retention pond. And they had put in a water tank so the water will go into the tanks. They will test those before the water is released.”

Thomas said GRP is also working with the EPD to adjust their process so that similar spills will not happen again.

“So I think what was happened was completely misfortunate. I think they took responsibility for it. They adjusted their practices, and then they’re looking, going forward, how to prevent it,” she said.

Thomas said the group was told that the GRP had ordered a large amount of wood chips in anticipation of the plant being up and running by now and when that didn’t happen they were left with piles of wood chips in danger of catching fire.

As for the other issues brought up by people living near the plant, the noise, the ash falling on their properties and the stench, Thomas said everyone needs to keep in mind that the plant is still under construction.

“Those things that they’re (residents) are experiencing are very valid and Commissioners hear them,” she said. “We also understand that they are still under construction. During the construction period they have waivers from their permit until the plant is up and running. They will admit that the steam releases are incredibly loud. Once the plant is up and running as it should, those releases should only happen twice a year.”

She says the frequent noise now is part of the testing process.

Right now, Thomas said both the Franklin and Madison counties facilities are shut down temporarily to fix an issue occurring at both plants.

The Madison County plant is scheduled to open next week.

Thomas said the County believes once construction is completed and everything is running, many of the problems their neighbors are experiencing now will be reduced.