Bioenergy Devco gets DNREC permits

Construction can proceed to build anaerobic digesters to recycle poultry waste
September 9, 2023

After several years of review and hearings, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn Garvin has approved permits associated with the expansion of Bioenergy Devco LLC’s Seaford facility. The expansion will enable the company to produce biogas at the company’s organic waste composting operation and begin recycling poultry waste.

A DNREC Secretary’s Order issued Sept. 6 authorizes Bioenergy Devco to construct an anaerobic digestion system, a wastewater pre-treatment system and a biogas upgrading plant. Devco currently accepts organic waste from poultry industry sources for composting.

The permits are published on the DNREC website at

“The permits being issued to BDC are reflective of the applications submitted to DNREC, the comments provided by the public and the Oct. 26, 2022, public hearing, as well as being consistent with our mission to protect human health and the environment,” Garvin said.

Once the permits are issued, Devco will be authorized to initiate the construction phase of the facility’s expansion. When construction has been completed and certified by DNREC, Devco will begin operating the anaerobic digester in addition to the existing composting facility. The anaerobic digester will produce cleaner gas and digestate. Composting operations at the facility have continued throughout the permitting process.

Once BDC’s expanded Seaford operation reaches full capacity, it will process an expected 250,000 tons of organic wastes from the poultry industry annually into compost, which can be used regionally to replace chemical fertilizers, along with renewable natural gas to be produced and injected into Chesapeake Utilities’ pipelines for use by the utility’s Sussex County customers.

“This is welcome news in our efforts to address Delaware’s poultry waste by turning it into renewable energy,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. “Not only will this reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in surrounding communities, but it also promotes job creation and supports one of Delaware’s most important industries.”

As chair of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Carper has supported the creation of a facility that uses anaerobic digestion to recycle poultry waste. This past spring, Carper joined Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, on a tour of Bioenergy Devco’s Maryland facility, which is already in operation, to see the process firsthand.

Food & Water Watch had mounted a campaign to halt the issuance of the permits.

Attorney Tyler Lobdell issued the following statement: “Factory farm gas is not welcome in Delaware. Gov. Carney’s decision to award Bioenergy Devco its operating permits, without necessary environmental review or oversight, is a dereliction of duty. The decision to allow the company to proceed in Sussex County runs afoul of the state’s responsibility to safeguard the health of Delaware’s climate, environment and people.”

Editor's note: The permits were issued by DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin, not the governor.


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