Marvin's Organic Garden, Lebanon: Composting site creates site plan to improve process, reduce odor

LEBANON, Ohio - Officials with the largest commercial composting facility in southwest Ohio are working to meet county zoning requirements. 

The owners of  Marvin's Organic Garden in Lebanon have never filed a site plan with Warren County, which is mandated by the county.

Marvin's receives animal and yard waste from Rumpke, the Cincinnati Zoo, and other companies and organizations from the region.

Nick Fabisiak, office administrator for the organic garden, says his company is still growing and has had to "evolve" its operation methods. 

He said the recent growth is part of the reason the facility has had a few "smell problems come up," leading some residents to complain about a foul odor coming from the facility.

Fabisiak understands that the scent of the compost could cause a possible annoyance to the community so his company is doing what it needs to do to address the issue. 

"There's a driving range close to us and I can understand how that could affect business and people want to come out and drive the ball and not have to deal with any odors and all that," Fabisiak said, adding that the company is attempting to be proactive by coming up with a site plan and reducing any odors it's creating.

"We want to work with everyone and do the right thing and make sure we're in compliance," Fabisiak said. "And we want to help the community thrive and be a part of progress."

The facility's owners recently partnered with an engineering firm to come up with the new site plan.

In addition to featuring a diagram of the layout of the facility and showing that business operations are in compliance with certain state and federal guidelines, the new plan could help cut down on some of the smell in the area.

The spokesperson for the facility said the site is already expected quarterly by the Ohio branch of the Environmental Protection Agency.

He also said on-site workers perform daily inspections to ensure everything is up to code. This includes sending samples of the compost to a lab, Fabisiak said.

Officials from the company say they are working to reduce the smell by adding bio-filters to specific compost piles. They also utilize a retention pond to help contain runoff.

"We've tried to increase wood chips and things we're adding into our ingredients to help counter those measures and make a better product," said Fabisiak.

They've also decided to stop receiving food waste while they're addressing issues. Fabisiak said it could be three to six months before they start receiving food waste again.

Officials from the facility have an upcoming meeting with county officials to discuss the new plan.

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