Ontario reconsiders Harvest Power's controversial waste, composting plant
- Ontario, CA’s City Council will reconsider Harvest Power’s proposal to build a green waste, food waste, and manure composting facility that the Planning Commission denied in December. Ontario’s Planning Director Scott Murphy said he rejected the idea due to concerns about traffic that the operation would generate, and because the plan did not comply with land-use policies, according to the Daily Bulletin. The region mandates that there be a half-mile buffer between sites that mix green waste and manure and residential communities.
- Chino Mayor Dennis Yates argued that the project could negatively impact a neighboring water treatment facility, though Harvest Power countered that the facility is regulated by the Air Quality Management District and CalRecycle.
- Harvest Power appealed the decision to the Ontario Planning Commission, which was upheld Jan. 26, but will be reviewed again this week at the suggestion of Councilman Alan Wapner.
Neighboring dairy farmers and the Ontario-based Milk Producers Council join the mayor and Planning Commission in opposing the project, with the farmers echoing concerns that the 34-acre site, formerly occupied by two dairy farms, does not fit in with the community. And Rob Vandenheuvel, the general manager of Milk Producers Council, stated the operation would increase traffic to the tune of 300 trucks driving back and forth every week, as reported in the Daily Bulletin.
Meanwhile as municipalities are pressed to reach for zero waste-to-landfill, many are looking at expanding organic disposal operations. They have their benefits, from cutting landfill methane to providing renewable energy sources. But not everyone wants a plant in their backyard.
Harvest Power stands firm that the operation would not detract from the community, with one of its main defenses being that, despite the city’s claims, composting will not take place less than a half mile from land where it is not permitted and that no digestate, fats, oils, or grease would be composted on-site.
"We have listened to the community’s concerns," said Sam Monaco, senior vice president of Harvest Power, as reported in the Daily Bulletin. "We appreciate the opportunity to explain how we will be a good neighbor with our facility design, operational standards, product quality, and services for the community."
- Daily Bulletin Ontario to review waste, composting project