State Orders Closure Of Peninsula Compost Facility

Wilmington Organics Recycling Center (WORC), circa 2010 Photo courtesy of WORC

Wilmington Organics Recycling Center (WORC), circa 2010

On October 20, David Small, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), issued a Secretary’s Order to Peninsula Compost Company LLC of Wilmington requiring closure of its organics recycling facility. The Order directs that the company immediately cease accepting any material at the facility and initiate steps to implement an orderly closure in compliance with a closure plan, the Composting Approval for Closure Activities. Owners of the facility — the Wilmington Organics Recycling Center (WORC) — had voluntarily ceased accepting new material in September.

The Order also requires all active composting of existing material onsite to be completed by January 16, 2015. All compost and related waste must be removed from the facility by March 31, 2015. “Peninsula Compost Company has placed an undue burden on the quality of life of residents in the City of Wilmington, parts of the City of New Castle and part of New Castle County — particularly those living in close proximity to the facility due to frequent uncontrolled odors,” said Secretary Small. “The company has been unable to maintain compliance with DNREC’s Beneficial Use Determination (BUD) permit.” WORC began operating in December 2009 with a BUD permit, which allowed the facility to accept and process hatchery waste, food waste, yard waste, wood waste, and animal bedding, in order to produce and market quality compost products at its facility in Wilmington. The company was processing about 115,000 tons/year of material.

DNREC’s press release about the closure order notes that Peninsula Compost Company was unable to maintain compliance and minimize odors. Specific issues cited related to violations and odors include: “Equipment has been nonoperational, sometimes for extended periods of time; Time needed to produce finished compost takes longer than originally planned; Waste or finished compost has been stored onsite above approved quantities; Noncompostable residuals from the screening process and trash have been stored onsite above approved levels; Trench drains and wear of the paved composting pad have allowed for standing leachate onsite; Poor maintenance of storm water ponds and aeration systems; Gore® Cover composting system has not been maintained appropriately;
Mixture of food waste with yard waste/wood waste has been at a ratio that is too high; Feedstocks and composting windrows have been contaminated with noncompostable wastes; Occurrences of fires at the facility; Failure to develop markets to meet production demands.

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