A proposed landfill gas refinery plant that passed the Forsyth County planning commission in May has once again been postponed by the Board of Commissioners.
At their regular meeting Thursday evening, Clean Eagle RNG LLC’s application, which is asking to rezone 10.4 acres from agriculture district (A1) to restricted industrial district (M1) with a conditional use permit (CUP) for a proposed gas refinery plant totaling 15,730 square feet with five parking spaces, was delayed until the BOC’s Sept. 7 meeting due to unified development code changes the board is in the process of adopting, according to District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills.
The company captures gases emitted by landfills from the decomposition of waste and converts gases like methane and carbon dioxide into “desirable” natural gas that is sold to Atlanta Gas Light for use. Currently, the gases emitted from the landfill are burnt off, producing a foul smell.
The application has faced pushback since its inception, largely in connection with north Forsyth residents’ anger at the Eagle Point Landfill expansion.
The landfill, which is not owned by the county, was built by Advanced Disposal in the early 2000s and opened in April 2002, its website says.
It currently accepts about 5,800 tons of waste per day, though is expected to expand by 40 percent with a 20-year extension if the expansion is approved, according to Brenda Henderson, a member of the local opposition group Stop Trashing Forsyth and the Etowah.
Though the gas refinery plant is not affiliated with Advanced Disposal, it has been a source of confusion for some.
In an information sheet produced by Stop Trashing Forsyth, a “did you know” section expresses concern about methane plants, saying they “can leak and/or explode requiring emergency management evacuation plans. Research is not conclusive but suggests that methane plant emissions may make the odor and air pollution worse.”
Clean Eagle’s developers said the plant will, in fact, help alleviate some of the smell —something Mills and her District 4 planning board member, Bettina Hammond, said they experienced when they toured a similar plant near Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
When the application was being heard by the planning board, Hammond worked with Forsyth’s Emergency Management Agency to create a disaster relief plan, should anything ever happen to the plant.
Fire Chief Danny Bowman said at the time he had no concern his firemen could handle an issue with the plant, if one should arise.