Delaware fines ‘green’ business for stink

Peninsula Compost Company, which composts food and yard waste into organic fertilizer at its facility near the Port of Wilmington, faces a $25,000 fine for violations of environmental rules.

After issuing three notices of violation against Peninsula last May, November, and this past March, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara has issued a more severe order in an attempt to bring the facility into compliance. 

“Peninsula Compost provides an important recycling function by turning organic waste into high-quality compost,” O’Mara said. “At the same time the company has exceeded its permit conditions in multiple areas, resulting in violations for odor issues.”

Bill Miller, DNREC’s environmental program manager, said the NOVs were for odors, violating size limits for waste piles, storing materials outside of approved boundaries and keeping prohibited waste, like plastic bags and treated or painted lumber, on site.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Miller said DNREC wants to see composting in Delaware, but Peninsula needs to remedy these violations to continue to operate. 

Nelson Widell with Peninsula emailed: “The corrective items listed therein have all been completed or will be shortly. We have been working diligently with DNREC to address.”

In 2012, the company diverted about 100,000 tons of waste from landfills in Delaware and the region, a service state leaders would like to see continue, as long as it can be done within the state’s parameters. “This penalty holds the company accountable for their violations while encouraging additional measures, in collaboration with DNREC, to reduce external impacts,” O’Mara said.

DNREC said despite the violations, there were no problems found with Peninsula’s compost—the state tests the finished product to meet quality standards.

The company now has 35 days to show that it has fully complied with the requirements of O’Mara’s order or risk having to pay more fines, or worse, the suspension of its permit to operate in the state.  

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal