Dozens gather to voice concerns about proposed anaerobic digester plant

Gary Conby with Grissan Engineering Services answers questions at a neighborhood meeting regarding the proposed anaerobic digester facility. Jeff McKenzie looks on at right.

Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024 — A crowd of more than 50 people attended a neighborhood meeting at the Nelson County Civic Center Wednesday night to hear details of the plans for an anaerobic digester facility on Spencer Mattingly Lane next to Dean Watts Park.

Grissan Engineering Services has applied for a conditional use permit for the facility, which will use anaerobic digestion processes to turn spent distillery mash into biogas, a form of methane. That gas will be further processed before it will be piped underground to the nearby Louisville Gas & Electric natural gas main near the intersection of KY 245 and Spencer Mattingly Lane.

Several dozen people attended the Grissan neighborhood meeting. Click to enlarge.

Following the company’s presentation, area residents expressed concerns about possible smells from the facility, its safety being adjacent to the park and homes, and the amount of traffic the facility will create.

The distillery “slop” will be picked up at the distilleries by Grissan’s own fleet of trucks that run on their renewable natural gas. These trucks — primarily tankers — will haul the slop to the Grissam facility where it will be offloaded and fed into the facility’s digestor tanks.

The process is sealed, company representative Gary Conboy told the crowd. The facility won’t have odor issues because the product isn’t stored or allowed to remain outside its closed system. Another byproduct of the process is a liquid soil conditioner that will provide nutrients to local farmland.

The facility will have as many as nine digester tanks that will contain mostly water. The micro-organisms in those tanks will break down the slop, creating biogas, a form of methane. The facility will then process the biogas into regular natural gas and feed it into the LG&E system, where it will go on to heat homes, businesses and area factories.

Click the image to enlarge.

The proprietary technology the company uses is currently in use at 11 distillery sites in Scotland, Conboy explained.

Some of those sites in Scotland are adjacent to historic sites and distilleries, and the company is sensitive to concerns about their impact on those historic sites.

The company plans to plant trees to shield the rear of the property from being visible to nearby housing developments. The facility will be surrounded by a concrete wall and an earthen berm as well. More than 20 acres along the rear of the tract will be designated a permanent conservation easement, which means it can never be developed, he said.

The company’s plans for as many as 10 trucks an hour visiting the facility caused some residents concern. The company’s trucks used to haul the distillery mash may add to the traffic, but they will not create congestion. The trucks will only enter Spencer Mattingly from KY 245 to access the site. Conboy stressed that their trucks will never exit the north end of Spencer Mattingly at Woodlawn Road.

The next step is the hearing before the Nelson County Board of Adjustments to consider the company’s request for a conditional use permit on Feb. 28, 2024, at Samuel’s Hall at the Nelson County Fairgrounds.


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