Yes, the two proposed “poultry waste” incinerators really ARE incinerators under Delaware law

Here are Green Delaware’s comments to the DNREC on this point:  [It is not supposed to be all italic but for some reason I can’t get rid of that]

Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2013 15:20:48 -0500
From: Alan Muller <>
Subject: Initial comments on Seaford/Millsboro litter incinerator status decisions

Ms. Michelle Jacobs

Dear Ms. Jacobs:

First, the public comment period for these projects, unlike the New Castle tire incinerator, has commenced before the DNREC technical evaluation is complete.  This could be handled in more than one way, but members of the public should have access to the reasoning and conclusions proposed by the DNREC.  Therefore, I request that the public comment period be extended for two weeks beyond the release of the technical committee’s conclusions on the incinerator ban status decisions.

In the “Renewoil” application, the Department advised the applicant how to alter his application in order to obtain a different decision.  I am concerned that public comments might also be used to correct problems in the application.

Delaware law, 7 Del. C. 6002 (25) (c) provides that

“‘Incinerator’ shall not include

(c) The burning of poultry waste or poultry manure at the same site where the waste or manure was generated, which shall include the burning of poultry waste or poultry manure generated upon an adjacent farm;”

The application for “10 dtpd Biorefinery for Conversion of Poultry Litter …” makes clear that (1) poultry litter would not be limited to that generated on site or an adjacent farm, and (2) fuels used would included more than “poultry waste or poultry manure.”

Specifically, the application states at 4.2 (page 7) that “We plan to use poultry litter and clean wood waste (e.g., tree trimmings, wooden pallets) as feedstock.”  Obviously, tree trimmings and wooden pallets are not “poultry waste or poultry manure.”

Further, the application states  “The poultry litter will be obtained from Ray Ellis, a poultry grower and poultry litter broker … Ellis has contracts to remove and broker the poultry litter from 600 to 700 houses.”  Obviously, litter from “600 to 700 houses” would not be coming from adjacent farms.

So, obviously, the exemption from the definition of incinerator at (c), above, would not apply to this project.

In regard to the Seaford application (“Conversion of Poultry Litter into Value-added Products ….”) no claim is made that the fuel would be limited to “poultry waste or poultry manure at the same site where the waste or manure was generated” and plainly the exemption at (c) would not apply to this facility.

So we are only left to make a determination as to whether the proposed facilities are incinerators, and the answer to that is clearly “yes.”

The applicants state that “Roughly half the carbon in the [feedstock] stays with the biochar product [ash].  This amounts to a statement that the process is a combustion process, albeit one characterized by incomplete combustion.  At section 4.5 applicant states:  “One co-product of the fast pyrolysis is syngas … this syngas is combustible, cannot be cost effectively stored … the combustion of this syngas would result in fewer emissions than simply venting it and would offset the use of non-renewable fossil fuels.  Therefore, the use of this syngas to provide part of the thermal energy for the process seems in the best interests of everyone.”

The application lacks a detailed process description, but it seems from the wording quoted above that what is proposed is a combustion system and thus meets the definition of an incinerator.

At 4.3 the application form calls for a listing of “any by-products, co-products, and wastes generated …”  The applicants fail, in both cases, to list any air emissions.  This should, alone, have caused the applications to be deemed administratively incomplete, since air emissions are inevitable and that is obvious.

The repeated references to the “venting” of uncombusted syngas reflect the reality that such “gasification” or “pyrolysis” facilities often do vent large amounts of reduced or partially oxidized (combusted) materials.  Such are often toxic and odorous, likely to cause a substantial nuisance and perhaps a health hazard.

One applications states (7.7) that “There are residences and one church within three miles of the proposed site.”  The other application contains nearly identical wording.

Delaware law, at 7 Del. C. 6003 (c) (2) provides that

(2) No permit may be granted to any incinerator unless:

a. The property on which the incinerator is or would be located is within an area which is zoned for heavy industrial activity and shall be subject to such process rules, regulations or ordinances as the county, municipality or other government entity shall require by law, such as a conditional use, so that conditions may be applied regarding the health, safety and welfare of the citizens within the jurisdiction; and

b. Every point on the property boundary line of the property on which the incinerator is or would be located is:

1. At least 3 miles from every point on the property boundary line of any residence;

2. At least 3 miles from every point on the property boundary line of any residential community; and

3. At least 3 miles from every point on the property boundary line of any church, school, park, or hospital.

Therefore, I conclude:

(1)     That the proposed facilities are incinerators within the meaning of Delaware law and the Secretary should so determine,

(2)     That the proposed incinerators are within three miles of incompatible land uses and cannot be permitted at the proposed locations;

(3)     that the applications fail to provide required information and should not have been deemed administratively complete;

(4)     that the public comment period should be extended to at least two weeks after release of the DNREC technical committee conclusions, in order to allow meaningful public comment and participation; and

(5)     should the DNREC allow the applicants an opportunity to correct deficiencies in the applications, another cycle of public comment should be allowed.

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Muller
Executive Director, Green Delaware

Box 69
Port Penn, DE 19731 USA
cell 302.299.6783




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