No injuries, environmental harm reported following digester fire

By Clear Horizons Dane LLC | August 13, 2014

Officials with Clear Horizons Dane LLC, the company that operates the Dane County community digester project near Waunakee, Wisconsin, report that a fire at the facility Aug. 6 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. “There were no injuries and no environmental releases.”

The fire occurred 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.”