St. Lucie County residents opposing proposed Compost USA biosoli - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

St. Lucie County residents opposing proposed Compost USA biosolid composting plant

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. -- Some St. Lucie County residents are gearing up to fight a proposed compost plant that could move in to western St. Lucie County.

The proposed site is located at the Becker Groves property on Shinn Rd.

The compost plant would break down biosolids, such as human waste, into fertilizer.

Hundreds of residents are concerned about the smells that the wind could carry to their neighborhoods several miles away, as well as the impact on their property values and the environment.

Now, many are planning protests and signing petitions.

The county has paid to complete a health impact study, which county leaders say showed there was minimal negative health impacts. That study, however, they say lacked information about the impact to the local environment.

The waste that would come to that compost plant would be approximately 98% free of pathogens. However, there is worry that the waste could potentially run off into nearby canals that ultimately feed into Ten Mile Creek and the St. Lucie Estuary.

Now, environmental impact studies are underway to make sure the plant wouldn't cause harm to the estuary and nearby agricultural farms.

PGA Village resident, Laurene McEneny, says her neighbors have have held meetings about the proposed plant.

"I feel that it's not good for PGA and I don't feel it's good for the surrounding areas," McEneny said. "I think everybody worries about their property value."

Compost USA has a similar plant in Sumter County, Florida. McEneny said she drove to that location over the summer to see what could be coming to St. Lucie County.

"My first reaction was it smells like a pig farm. The reason I say that is my parents owned a commercial pig farm when I was younger. I said to my husband, who has no sense of smell, this smells like a pig farm," McEneny said.

She says she also talked to a business owner several miles of that property in Sumter county to get an idea of what the smell could be miles away. "He looked up and he said 'it stinks'. We said 'that's what we came to find out'," McEneny said.

County leaders say the smell wasn't bad off property, in their opinion.

They also say there would be little economic impact by having a compost plant in the county, but it could help keep some waste out of the landfills.

The county planning department hopes to have all environment impact studies completed before December 3.

That's when county commissioners are holding a special meeting to discuss the proposed plant, take public comments, and hopefully come to a final decision.

St. Lucie County residents are planning a protest at the next commission meeting on November 3 at 5 p.m. outside the commission building.

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