One of the largest facilities of its kind, The Heartland Biogas Project has six white digesters that convert food scraps and cow manure into natural gas.

Grace Hood/CPR News

One of the country’s largest biogas plants will suspend operations. Weld County Commissioners voted unanimously to suspend operations at the Heartland Biogas Project until it obtains a valid permit to operate.

Heartland takes in cow manure and food scraps, converting them into natural gas. The process though can be smelly. Neighbors have raised about 600 complaints since the plant opened. They also began digging through operating regulations and identified an invalid permit called a certificate of designation. Even though there has been only one recorded odor violation at the plant, Weld Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer said the county couldn’t allow Heartland to continue operations without that permit.

“It is not easy to make this decision,” Kirkmeyer said. “I think it’s very grave and we’re all very disappointed with the decision that’s before us.”

Heartland officials say they have a valid permit, but need to transfer ownership because the plant was sold. Heartland Biogas said it will consider an appeal. It’s unclear what the suspension will mean for local dairies that send truckloads of cow manure to the plant every day.

Read More: Fed Up With The Smell, Neighbors Want The Weld County Biogas Project Shut Down