UPDATE: Manure digester company response to fire

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UPDATED Wednesday, August 6, 2014-- 4:27 p.m.

From Clear Horizons Dane, LLC--

Officials with Clear Horizons Dane, LLC, the company that operates the Dane County community digester project near Waunakee, report that a fire at the facility this morning was extinguished within an hour and no injuries or release of hazardous materials occurred. The community digester, a public/private partnership, converts methane gas from local farms’ cow manure to produce electricity sufficient to power approximately 2,400 homes.

“The fire has been fully contained within the footprint of one of the digester tanks and has been extinguished,” Leo Maney, project manager with Clear Horizons, said this afternoon. “There were no injuries and no environmental releases.”

The fire occurred this morning when a roof of one of the facility’s three digester tanks ignited. The roof, which is made of a poly fabric material, was being inflated with a blower to put the tank back into service following cleaning. Maney said the roof ignited and burned and fell inside the digester tank where it was contained.

The digester facility was shut down to allow response to the fire and an investigation to occur.

“There is no threat to the local community,” Maney said. “The digester will remain down until we are confident it can be restarted.”

Fire departments from Waunakee and DeForest responded to the fire.

For more information, please contact Mr. James Ditter at 414-758-1501.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

DANE COUNTY, Wis. --- The Waunakee Fire Chief tells NBC 15 News a leaky valve probably caused today's fire at the Dane County Clear Horizons biodigester. This is only a probable cause right now. Methane gas leaked.

Investigators say a fan probably sparked the methane blowing the fabric roof off the digester. The valve and a cover will need to be replaced.

The cover was valued at $250,000.

In March a broken pipe allowed thousands of gallons to manure to leak from the facility. NBC 15 News reported then that the 35,000 gallons of manure were captured by a retention pond.

There were no injuries from today's fire.


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