Fairborn resident files lawsuit against bio-energy company

A Fairborn resident is suing a bio-energy company that he claims is a odor nuisance.

Attorneys for Luke Borntrager, who lives in Fairborn, filed a lawsuit in Greene County Common Pleas Court against Dovetail Energy and Bath Twp. Trustee Tom Pitstick on Dec. 10.

Residents of Bath Twp. and Fairborn have been fighting against the Dovetail Energy operation for the past couple of years. Renergy, also known as Dovetail Energy, collects sewage, biowaste from municipalities and food and farm waste into methane energy, the byproduct of which is then turned into fertilizer for crops used to feed livestock in an anaerobic digester.

Many living nearby have voiced concerns over the odor from the operation and the long-term health effects of living near the waste.

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The operation sits on Pitstick’s farm. He declined to comment.

The suit alleges that the smell from the Dovetail operation has interfered with the residents’ use and enjoyment of their property. The lawsuit says a properly operated facility would prevent the odors from the facility from invading the homes and property of those living nearby.

“Defendants have failed to adequately manage, collect, capture and destroy the gas generated by the facility,” the lawsuit says.

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The lawsuit says that because Dovetail “knowingly, negligently, intentionally, recklessly and grossly” failed to properly maintain the facility that their conduct was unreasonable.

“Whatever social utility provided by the facility is clearly outweighed by the harm suffered by Plaintiffs and the putative class,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit asks for a jury trial and for compensatory damages and any attorney fees and costs.

Renergy did not respond to a request for comment.

Renergy had been accepting solid waste from various municipalities, but stopped accepting it October of this year. The company now only accepts food waste and farm waste, like manure.

In March, the Bath Twp. Board of Zoning Appeals ruled Renergy is not operating in accordance to their land’s agricultural zoning, but instead is operating a business more appropriate for industrial zoning. Renergy has appealed this ruling.

Renergy continues to operate today, despite the March zoning ruling.

Earlier this month, Bath Twp. and Fairborn residents started a petition asking that Pitstick and Bath Twp. Trustee Steve Ross resign. The trustees have not resigned.

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