Richmond/Spring Grove Village Articles

  Possible ethanol plant discussed

by Greg Cryns


The main topic of conversation at last week’s Richmond board meeting involved the possibility of  an ethanol plant moving into the area bordering on the village’s west side near Route 173 and Keystone Rd.


Trustee Dan Deters is very skeptical that an ethanol plant is in the best interests of the village.


“I don’t think it’s the village’s job to figure out what the science (of ethanol) is,” said Deters. “It’s our job to use common sense here.” Deters believes that the ethanol plant could be a big problem in the future if Richmond wants to develop the area west of town. “There are not many other directions for Richmond to go,” said Deters.


North Eastern Illinois Ethanol Developers LLC would like to put the plant on the south side of Route 173 and west of Keystone Road. This is legally an issue for Richmond village because that area is within 1.5 miles of its village border.


Trustee Roy Wulffen agrees with Deters. Wulffen focused on the amount of water that would be needed to operate the plant. “The growth in the area will create water shortages by 2030,” said Wulffen.


Trustee Charles Schultz wondered if the plant could use grey water instead of fresh water. Schultz’s suggestion to surround the plant with sweet smelling flowers to improve the odors drew chuckles from the crowd and other board members. “I’m open to seeing what the risk vs benefits.”


Local environmentalist, Cindy Skurud, researched ethanol plants. “We are concerned about water quantity and water quality,” said Skudrud. “It takes 3-8 gallons of water to produce one gallon of ethanol. Two gallons of wastewater are created per gallon of ethanol.” Skudrud said she, too, wondered about whether graywater could be used in the manufacturing process. Graywater is wastewater from household baths and washing machines that is recycled especially for use in gardening or for flushing toilets.


Ethanol has many uses in society. Some uses include solvents in the manufacture of varnishes and perfumes, preservatives for biological specimens, in the preparation of essences and flavorings, in many medicines and drugs, and as a fuel and gasoline additive.


The board decided to listen to presentations in the future from both environmentalists and from representatives of the proposed plant.


In other business, Myers, M&M Auto is looking for a zoning variance to grant conditional use for the preparation of used cars for sale. There was some opposition from Yvonne Cryns who lives near the business. Cryns cited possible water contamination issues from car oil, evening lighting of the car lot, and standing liquid around the building that could be a contaminant hazard. Village Administrator Tim Savage said he would look at the standing water and report back to the board.


Resident Charles Eldredge spoke on behalf of the McHenry County 2030 Plan. Eldredge said that the organization is developing a land use plan for the county. One of the concerns is the quality and quantity of water in the county. Committes will include agriculture, communications, community character, economic development, infrastructure, intergovernmental coordination with emphasis on open space, environmental/natural resources and water resources.  More information can be obtained at the website:

The next regular board meeting will be on Thursday, April 5th at 7:00PM. All members of the community are encouraged to share their concerns.




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