Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
By William Kincaid
Digester site flooded - no problem
  CELINA - Flooding on the site of a proposed manure/algae digester in Celina would not cause problems, says Andy Tangeman, president of Optional Energy Partners of Florida.
"We've gone through all those issues," Tangeman said Wednesday afternoon, pointing out company officials took pictures of the proposed location this week. A portion of the land is in a floodplain and was under water early this week after severe storms hit the area Sunday.
If all goes as planned and city council members approve the necessary legislation, Optional Energy Partner's proposed manure/algae digester would be built on a 60-acre parcel of land the city intends to buy along Meyer Road. The site, being called the Celina Renewable Energy Center, also will include two solar plants to be built by Solar Vision of Westerville.
Tangeman said the planned digester would be a self-contained plant with sealed vessels, adding nothing will leak in or out of its components. He said it is designed accordingly to a flood zone area.
"Our goal is not to be a problem," he said.
Mike Dickman of Solar Vision said the proposed solar panels would be elevated above the ground. The poles that support the panels would be installed like a basketball pole, he said.
"We are very certain that the Celina soils will be suitable," he said. "We plan to have the soils tested before construction."
Dickman said Solar Vision's insurance company requires that the bottom-most portion of its solar panels and inverters are elevated 2 1/2 feet above the base flood elevation set by FEMA.
In addition to satisfying its insurer, the elevated equipment also would protect the business' investment, Dickman said.
Also at the site will be the city's sludge ponds, which will be moved from their current location along U.S. 127. Pipes would be extended from the water treatment plant to the site.
Celina Planning and Community Development Director Kent Bryan said 15-foot embankments would be created around the sludge ponds with the dirt from digging out the ponds.
Five acres of wetlands - dug four to five feet deep - also would be created on the southern area of the property. That dirt will be used to increase the elevation of land where the manure/algae digester would be built, Bryan said.
"We would be storing the same volume of water on the property after the improvements as what would be stored during a flood," he said about flood prevention.
Celina Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Mike Sudman said the current sludge ponds do flood but don't cause problems. The flooding also does not need to be reported to any organization or entity.
"The sludge is heavy so it never leaves there," Sudman said.
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