Ward Hill Farm Proposes Organics to Energy Operation

Vanguard Renewables Farm Powered anaerobic digester partnership with Barstow’s Longview Farm, Hadley, began in 2013.

A planned Ward Hill farm and food waste processing energy generating plant will support local farming by generating electricity, reducing agricultural odors and producing organic fertilizer, according to the owner.

An anaerobic digester is slated for installation at Crescent Farms, 1058 Boston Road, a 350-acre farm operated for four generations by the Davidowicz Family, Haverhill. It will generate one megawatt of electricity.

“It can’t be seen. It’s is going to look like part of the barn,” third-generation owner C. Michael “Mike” Davidowicz told WHAV this morning. His son Cody, representing the fourth generation, will operate the plant. “He did a whole project on it for a college paper at Plymouth State University. He started getting into it.”

Besides Crescent Farms, Davidowicz said, the anaerobic digester will accept wastes from about 10 other mostly small farms he operates in Haverhill and other surrounding towns. Davidowicz, for example, manages the farm operations at Whittier Birthplace. He also manages the 1,000-acre farm at Tewksbury State Hospital.

“It takes all the gases out of there, meaning there’s no odors. Everything is contained. Nothing is in the open. It captures methane gases and burns off the gas,” he explained. The plant also provides natural, organic fertilizer, Davidowicz said.

An anaerobic digester was proposed five years ago for Hilldale Avenue, but scuttled after neighbors raised concerns. Unlike Neo Energy’s proposed food waste-to-energy operation on Hilldale Avenue, the Ward Hill operation will be built by three-year-old Vanguard Renewables of Wellesley and operated as part of the long-time farm.

“There couldn’t be a better place than to put it on Mike’s Farm, tucked against the hillside. It’s a great thing to do with a farmer,” said John Hanselman, Vanguard executive chairman.

Vanguard uses a modified German technology that has seen widespread use in Canada, Hanselman said. “In Germany there are 9,000 units. They’ve been running for 30 years,” he said. Vanguard already has two operations in Massachusetts and another one on the way.

“There’s one in Rutland, on the Jordan Dairy Farm; second one in Hadley, at the Barstow Longview Farm; and a third system in Deerfield, at the Bar-Way Farm, is coming,” he said.

Davidowicz said he has been working on the concept for six or eight months and now wants to discuss it with his neighbors before he goes any further. A public meeting takes place with John Hanselman, executive chairman of Vanguard, Mayor James J. Fiorentini and neighbors next Thursday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. Neighbors are asked to arrive at 6:30 to allow them to view the site during daylight hours.

“The organics to energy lifecycle that is farm powered solves the organics waste disposal challenges of American business and the farms, while it generates renewable energy and provides fertilizer to increase local food production and clean water for farm use,” according to a summary on Vanguard’s website.

10 thoughts on “Ward Hill Farm Proposes Organics to Energy Operation

  1. You probably won’t be pleased to know that the previous odor that you speak, although bone chilling (pun intended), is purely organic and is technically a farm byproduct!

    • And that is brought in, not raised on the farm. You would think that he would have some consideration for the neighbors. His actions in the past don’t speak much of him or his trade

  2. Happy to hear the spokesman of crescent farms is in favor of this project.
    However where are the trucks going to access this site? Is there noise associated with this that is going effect the neighborhood?
    Oppose the project and they make your life hell. Ask the neighbors who have done so in the past.

  3. I am privileged to have advanced knowledge of the location of the proposed facility and furthermore Cora & I have visited a similar facility that is up and running. Our house is going to be the second closest in the neighborhood to the proposed facility and have found no fault with it. The closest house is the new house being built by the owners of Crescent Farms, obviously they have complete confidence in the operation and effects of the facility too.

    Although similar, it is not like the facility that was proposed up on Hilldale a few years ago. Much of the facility will be sub grade and the containment of the farm & food waste would reduce the odors that the farm now produce’s. This is a win win situation for all involved and will be fully explained Thursday night – for a tour of the sight before the presentation, you should be at the Farm by 6:30.

    • The facility that was proposed for Hilldale area was also to be a self containment type facility and also was to be a negative pressure type facility. This means the air inside is at negative air pressure so odors stay inside when doors are opened. It was to be THE ONLY one like it in the country and could have drawn a lot of people to the city to see it in operation. That facility would have provided electricity back to the city as well and would have had a byproduct of fertilizer for local farms.

      The extremely false and negative info that was put out regarding that proposed Hilldale facility was that it was like the one you are talking about…..a farm type Anaerobic facility that would lead to rats, disease, and odors. Not too mention truck traffic through the area. Not much different situation as I see proposed here.

  4. This IS THE SAME type plant that was proposed in upper Hilldale industrial park. The residents up there were fired up and fueled by then councilor Dave Hall, who promptly lost his next election. The Mayor had originally supported the facility, bringing the power company into the city and recommending the location. But, as always, then backed away when he put his finger into the wind and heard a bit of resistance. So much for that climate change huh ?

    I laugh at the lack of forward thinking by some people as well as the Mayor. That facility would have been state of the art and something that is coming regardless. The state will require these facilities to be placed around the state. Haverhill could have been ahead of the curve but, well, we all know how that goes around here.

  5. This is the same guy responsible for the odors when he spreads fertilizer. It’s not normal fertilizer and its trucked in.
    Same operation and a poor neighbor.