Officials in holding pattern on waste-to-energy

Young: Incinerator's future is uncertain
Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
10/06/2013
An effort to build a waste-to-energy incinerator in Frederick County remains on ice as the state weighs a trio of environmental permits. County officials expected the permitting process would be wrapped up by August. More than a month later, they are not sure how much longer it will take. With leaders from Frederick County, Carroll County and possibly other jurisdictions locked in a holding pattern, Commissioners President Blaine Young says the fate of the waste-to-energy project is unclear. "I think it's a coin toss," Young said. "I don't feel confident to say the project is dead. I don't feel confident to say the project is a go." Frederick County leaders are waiting to determine whether it still makes financial sense to build a facility that would consume trash to generate electricity. Carroll County, a partner in the project, wants to back out, but must find a replacement or pay a fine. And no replacement partner is going to show serious interest until the project secures its approvals from the Maryland Department of the Environment, Young said."Nobody really knows where these permits are at and where the issue is here," he said. A spokeswoman for the state agency wrote in late September that "MDE is still working through the permit process" and doesn't have a set date for completion.

Frederick leaders consider city's role in incinerator project

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/13/2013
Questions about the county’s waste-to-energy project are starting to smolder among officials in the city of Frederick. Though most decisions about the incinerator project have happened at the county level, at least two aldermen believe city leaders have a role to play. In an email sent to fellow board members last week, Alderwoman Karen Young recommended calling an optional evening meeting to hear from both sides of the debate over the incinerator. “I do believe that this is a City issue because City participation will be needed to make this project viable. In addition, if it is a major concern to our residents, then it becomes a City issue,” she wrote. Her email came in response to a message from an incinerator opponent who had detailed his concerns about the project and urged the aldermen to look into it more deeply.

Frederick leaders consider city’s role in incinerator project

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/13/2013
Questions about the county’s waste-to-energy project are starting to smolder among officials in the city of Frederick. Though most decisions about the incinerator project have happened at the county level, at least two aldermen believe city leaders have a role to play. In an email sent to fellow board members last week, Alderwoman Karen Young recommended calling an optional evening meeting to hear from both sides of the debate over the incinerator. “I do believe that this is a City issue because City participation will be needed to make this project viable. In addition, if it is a major concern to our residents, then it becomes a City issue,” she wrote. Her email came in response to a message from an incinerator opponent who had detailed his concerns about the project and urged the aldermen to look into it more deeply.

Interested buyer to begin running Citizens, Montevue

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
07/31/2013
The county-owned nursing and assisted living homes are set to see a change in management this week, as the company interested in buying the facilities gets a jump-start on running them. On Thursday, Aurora Health Management will take the reins at Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living on a month-to-month contract that is expected to last until the Millersville-based company purchases the two facilities. County commissioners on June 25 voted to sell the centers to Aurora for $30 million. Aurora will take over for LW Consulting, a Pennsylvania business that has managed Citizens and Montevue for more than 18 months. The county has agreed to pay Aurora $50,000 per month to run the facilities and head up everything from purchasing to health care reporting.

Incinerator would tower over historic Monocacy battlefield

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
04/25/2013
The Monocacy National Battlefield has again been identified as one of Maryland’s most endangered historical sites because of its proximity to a planned incinerator in Frederick County. In 2008, the Civil War Preservation Trust, a nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation of Civil War battlefields, named the park an endangered site because of how close it would be to the proposed “waste-to-energy facility” that will burn trash to produce electricity. This time, Preservation Maryland — a nonprofit organization founded in 1931 to advocate for historic sites, neighborhoods and landscapes in the state — has also recently named the battlefield one of the state’s most endangered historical sites because the incinerator’s 270-foot smokestack will be visible from across the battlefield.

Waste to energy: the story so far

Frederick News Post
01/31/2013
May 2000 — Frederick County hires consultants to evaluate landfill capacity problems. February 2006 — County commissioners begin procurement process for waste-to-energy incinerator. March 2007 — County Commissioner David Gray and Michael Marschner, director of the county's Utilities and Solid Waste Management Division, visit seven European countries to investigate waste-to-energy technology. April 2008 — Carroll and Frederick county commissioners discuss partnership on incinerator to burn 1,500 tons of trash per day to generate electricity. February 2009 — More than 200 people attend public hearings on incinerator, the majority in opposition. April 2009 — A state Senate committee rejects a bill that would prohibit incinerators near battlefields. July 2009 — Frederick and Carroll counties agree to build a regional trash incinerator at the McKinney Industrial site near Buckeystown Pike. October 2009 — Frederick County Planning Commission determines the waste-to-energy plant is not consistent with the county's comprehensive plan. November 2009 — County commissioners appeal planning commission’s decision in Frederick County Circuit Court. Planning commission reverses its earlier decision on the county's plans to build a trash incinerator. December 2009 — Residents challenge the planning commission's reversal on a ruling that could have blocked construction. August 2010 — Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority has first permitting hearing for air emissions. November 2010 — A study states the incinerator will cost Frederick County $140.7 million over the next 30 years, significantly less than an initial estimate of $331 million. October 2011 — An environmental group study reports that waste-to-energy incinerators release lead and mercury at a greater rate than some coal-fired plants. November 2011 — More than 100 residents turn out for the county's final public hearing on the waste-to-energy project. June 2012 — After making it known for months that they are pursuing other options, Carroll County officials give Frederick County the green light to pursue new partners for the incinerator. August 2012 — Only about a third of those who sign up to speak have their voices heard at a two-hour Maryland Department of the Environment public hearing on a water permit for the incinerator. September 2012 — With uncertainty about Carroll County's partnership and no firm commitment from a replacement county, Frederick asks Wheelabrator Technologies to calculate the cost of building a plant to burn only Frederick County's trash. January 2013 — Maryland Department of the Environment schedules a single hearing for the final three permits needed before construction of the incinerator can begin.

Carroll County hears trash options

Residents speak on waste-to-energy plan
Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
02/29/2012
Carroll County's commissioners Tuesday night publicy reviewed whether to continue a partnership with Frederick County to build a waste-to-energy incinerator plant in Frederick before about 150 concerned residents. The commissioners heard from a variety of groups, ranging from those who were in favor of waste-to-energy to those offering more environmentally friendly alternatives -- including composting. The groups were invited to speak at a forum at Carroll Community College in Westminster. The meeting was called as Carroll County's commissioners debate the idea of moving forward with the plan.

County forging ahead with incinerator

Public hearing on the project set for today
Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
12/07/2011
Frederick County is forging ahead with a waste-to-energy incinerator despite some hesitation from its partner in the project. Carroll County, which can opt out of the multimillion-dollar deal once final costs are determined next year, remains on the fence about whether it will stay on board. "We understand they are taking a look at the whole project," Michael Marschner, special projects manager for the county, said during a meeting Tuesday with the editorial board at The Frederick News-Post. "They need to make whatever decision is right for their county." Should Carroll County pass on the opportunity, it would leave Frederick County on the hook. "If you don't have another equity partner, I think the project stalls," Marschner said.

Official says WTE incinerator construction remains on track

Frederick News Post
Pete McCarthy
12/01/2011
Construction of a waste-to-energy incinerator in Frederick County is on pace to start by August 2012, and the plant could be up and running three years later. All that remains is final permitting, which is still being reviewed, Michael Marschner, special projects manager for the county, told the Rotary Club of Frederick on Wednesday. "It's not like you're getting a permit for a house," Marschner said. "There are a lot of things that get checked and double-checked." The county has so far hit no major snags in the process, he said. "Everything is proceeding pretty much on schedule," Marschner said. "These are large projects that take a lot of time to develop." Frederick and Carroll counties have an agreement to build the 1,500-ton-per-day incinerator at McKinney Industrial Park in Frederick. The plant will burn trash to generate electricity for both counties.

Hefty NMWDA fees

Frederick News Post
Sally Sorbello
10/27/2011
In response to the call by the Frederick County Commissioners for ideas on how to cut county costs, I have one: Stop being a member county of the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority. NMWDA is the independent "instrumentality" of the state of Maryland that will own the regional trash incinerator to be sited here in Frederick County. NMWDA has been leading Frederick and Carroll counties toward the possibly bankrupting incinerator since Frederick County became a member in 2004, and NMWDA will benefit handsomely from the facility.Not including the huge construction costs and escalating management/administrative fees, Frederick can save millions of dollars in membership fees alone if we quit being a member county of NMWDA.

Public decries waste-to-energy project

Frederick News Post
Patti S. Borda
07/22/2011
Potential pollution, traffic and expense associated with a waste-to-energy incinerator drew a group of residents to a meeting Thursday with Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. and the Maryland Department of the Environment. Members of the public who attended the meeting were not convinced that the county plant will receive enough trash to make it profitable, and if it does they said too much material that could be recycled will be incinerated instead.

Young says Carroll County must decide whether to remain in incinerator partnership

Frederick commissioners' president also questions moving the trash-burning plant
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
03/31/2011
Frederick County Commissioners' President Blaine R. Young said today Carroll County must decide if it wants to still be a partner in the planned incinerator. Young (R) asked Michael G. Marschner, the special projects manager with the Division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management, to meet with Carroll County commissioners and see if they are still on board with the incinerator, or what some people call a "waste-to-energy facility" because it burns trash to produce electricity. Young said he wants an answer in 30 days. "We need to find out the status of Carroll County," he said. "Are they in or are they out?"

Legal action won't delay incinerator

Design, permitting continues for trash-burning facility
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
11/19/2009
Legal action will not delay the permitting and designing process of an incinerator in Frederick County, according to a county official. Michael G. Marschner, director of the county's Division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management, said this week the process will continue despite an appeal filed in Circuit Court Friday. "The [Board of County Commissioners] have already signed agreements with the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority and they have been working on the design and permitting process," Marschner said. "It's a long process and they [NMWDA] have been instructed to do so. Yes, we're still moving forward."

Legal action won’t delay incinerator

Design, permitting continues for trash-burning facility
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
11/19/2009
Legal action will not delay the permitting and designing process of an incinerator in Frederick County, according to a county official. Michael G. Marschner, director of the county's Division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management, said this week the process will continue despite an appeal filed in Circuit Court Friday. "The [Board of County Commissioners] have already signed agreements with the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority and they have been working on the design and permitting process," Marschner said. "It's a long process and they [NMWDA] have been instructed to do so. Yes, we're still moving forward."

Resident wants fair to recycle

Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
07/17/2008
The Great Frederick Fair attracts a lot of attention -- and generates a lot of trash. One county woman hopes to focus that attention on where the trash goes by encouraging more recycling at the fair. Myersville resident Mary Posey wrote an e-mail to the fair organizers this week asking them to implement more recycling. And she'd like to see more recycling at all fairs and events throughout the county. She believes fairs can educate people about the county's shrinking landfill space. The county is considering building a trash incinerator, an idea that Posey opposes. She would prefer more waste diversion and recycling. "I am very, very concerned a lot of people are not informed about the county's waste crisis," Posey said. Posey has lived in Frederick County since 1965 and has been going to the fair every year since 1966. In an e-mail, she suggested newspaper photographers should take pictures of mounds of trash generated at the fair every day.

Officials defend incinerator research

Director of Frederick County’s solid waste division says recent challenges to 2005 trash report are ‘disturbing
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
07/03/2008
The man in charge of managing Frederick County’s solid waste is troubled that some residents question his recommendation to build an incinerator.Michael G. Marschner, director of Frederick County’s division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management, is steadfast in his support of a 2005 report from consultant R.W. Beck, which recommends that Frederick County build an incinerator, also known as a ‘‘waste-to-energy” facility because it burns trash to generate electricity, to deal with its mounting trash. "The Beck report will be three years old in October, and I find it a little disturbing when people want to challenge the conclusions,” Marschner said this week. "I guess if they came back today to change it, the only thing to change is the increase in diesel fuel, which has gone up in the last three years. In that respect, the three-year-old report should be updated.” Since 2000, Frederick County has shipped nearly all its trash by truck from the landfill on Reichs Ford Road in Frederick to landfills in Virginia. Marschner himself has come under attack by critics that accuse him and the Frederick Board of County Commissioners of making a rash decision to build an incinerator instead of looking at alternatives. Commissioner Kai J. Hagen (D), the lone board member publicly against an incinerator, said he believes Marschner and his staff are wrong in their recommendation. Hagen advocates that the county study alternatives. "Mike Marschner is a very capable and intelligent man, but he is wrong on this,” Hagen said in a recent interview. "... No way would a private company get this far or go all the way without much more scrutiny.”

Hagen prepares incinerator battle plan, Inspired by trip to Colorado

Frederick County commissioner hopes to convince colleagues that increased recycling is better option
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
06/19/2008
Frederick County Commissioner Kai J. Hagen’s trip to Boulder, Colo., last week only served to add more fuel to his fight against a proposed incinerator here. "I will keep fighting on this issue,” Hagen (D) said. "I absolutely believe it is a very, very important decision and the county is headed in the wrong direction.” Hagen said that he plans to put together a power point presentation about the trip to try to convince his board colleagues to abandon a plan to build an incinerator. Hagen has also created graphics for "No Incineration” stickers, which he e-mailed to incineration opponents Monday. The stickers can be put in car windows and house windows. Throughout the Boulder trip, Hagen posted pictures and information on his online forum and he now plans to invite Eric Lombardi, executive director of Boulder’s Eco-Cycle, a nonprofit that runs the county’s recycling center, to Frederick, to speak with commissioners.

Group proposes alternate trash disposal plan

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
03/13/2008
A trash advisory group in Frederick County will unveil an alternate plan to the county’s proposal to build an incinerator. The plan will be unveiled at a series of presentations beginning Monday. "This alternative plan is designed to capture recyclable material on the front end before it becomes part of the waste stream, substantially reducing the current amount of trash going to our landfill or needing to be exported or incinerated,” said Steve Cassis, of the Solid Waste Analysis Group (SWAG). Friends of Frederick County, a land protection group that has been vocal in its opposition to an incinerator, is sponsoring the presentations. Janice Wiles, executive director of Friends, said since incineration has been on the table for Frederick County, alternative plans have not been considered. The alternative plan includes the building of a ‘‘Material Recovery Facility,” a specialized plant that accepts, separates and prepares recyclable materials to be sold on the open market, composting commercial and household waste and better disposal of construction debris and electronic items. Incineration opponents believe increased recycling will reduce the need to burn trash and reject incineration as harmful to the environment and too costly for county taxpayers. They consider their plan to be cheaper and cleaner.

If incinerator fails, county may opt for a new landfill

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
12/20/2007
Frederick County Commission President Jan H. Gardner (D) said this week the county would have to site a new landfill if commissioners decide against a trash-burning incinerator. "I do believe if we don’t pursue waste-to-energy, then we do have to move in the direction of siting land for a new landfill,” she said. Gardner acknowledged that siting a new landfill would not be easy — commissioners would need to find 300 to 500 acres of open land, away from homes. Gardner’s assessment comes after a two-night public hearing on an incinerator proposal. Commissioners started listening to testimony from residents and environmental groups on Dec. 11 and finished up Dec. 12.

Decision on trash to come next year

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
12/06/2007
Frederick County commissioners said Tuesday that before their terms end in 2010, they will make a decision about whether the county should build a trash incinerator."Absolutely it will be made in my term," Commissioner David P. Gray (R) said during a press conference Tuesday. Gray became convinced that the answer to the county's trash problems is an incinerator, after he spent a week in Europe touring incinerator plants in seven countries. On Tuesday, commissioners outlined their accomplishments during the last year, along with the issues they plan to tackle in 2008. Deciding whether to build a trash incinerator is high on their list.