Waste not?

Frederick News Post
10/03/2007
Mike Marschner, director of Frederick County's Utilities and Solid Waste Management Division, would like the Frederick County Commissioners to make some decisions. The decisions he's calling for will be some of the more momentous ones this board makes during its tenure, as they will affect how the county handles its massive volumes of solid waste well into the future. In a recent story in The Frederick News-Post, Marschner acknowledges that these decisions will be tough ones, but he also says they "need to happen in the next couple of months because we need to be given some direction." To help the commissioners in their decision-making process, Marschner is scheduled to give a lengthy and comprehensive presentation to the board on Oct. 22. That presentation will be his vision of how the county should proceed in addressing the solid waste it generates. According to the News-Post story, Marschner anticipates that his proposal will be a multifaceted one. Among the things he is expected to recommend are enhanced recycling efforts, waste-prevention programs, and the construction of a waste-to-energy (WTE) plant -- an incinerator that generates electricity from the trash it burns. Proposals for a local waste-to-energy plant have been met with a significant amount of resistance from some private citizens, as well as environmental groups. They have presented an array of arguments against such a plant, including its initial and operating costs, as well as its potential environmental impact.

Let’s not incinerate our future

Gazette
Patrice Gallagher
08/23/2007
I agree that Frederick needs to come up with a long-term vision for sustainable waste management. I disagree as to how this should be accomplished, though. Based on what I've read, waste-to-energy incineration is the most costly and polluting method for dealing with our trash, and it is not a final disposal method. A landfill is still needed to handle residual ash, which amounts to one ton of ash for every three tons of trash burned. This ash is toxic, as are the emissions; no pollution-control devices can eliminate pollution completely. The better solution is to look at the resources that are in our trash and recycle and compost them instead. If done right, a recycling program saves more energy than incineration produces. Recycled materials are worth more than electricity produced from burning. There are plenty of great examples in other communities for Frederick to draw upon.

Let's not incinerate our future

Gazette
Patrice Gallagher
08/23/2007
I agree that Frederick needs to come up with a long-term vision for sustainable waste management. I disagree as to how this should be accomplished, though. Based on what I've read, waste-to-energy incineration is the most costly and polluting method for dealing with our trash, and it is not a final disposal method. A landfill is still needed to handle residual ash, which amounts to one ton of ash for every three tons of trash burned. This ash is toxic, as are the emissions; no pollution-control devices can eliminate pollution completely. The better solution is to look at the resources that are in our trash and recycle and compost them instead. If done right, a recycling program saves more energy than incineration produces. Recycled materials are worth more than electricity produced from burning. There are plenty of great examples in other communities for Frederick to draw upon.

County to sponsor solid waste forum

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
03/08/2007
Residents will have an opportunity to learn about trash disposal options in Frederick County next weekend. The Frederick Board of County Commissioners will sponsor a forum on solid waste from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., March 17, at Frederick Community College’s Jack B. Kussmaul Theater. The forum is free and open to the public. "The county commissioners recognize that solid waste issues, such as recycling and waste-to-energy proposals, are of utmost importance to the citizens of Frederick County,” said Michael Marschner, director of Utilities and Solid Waste Management, in a press release. "At their direction, we are pleased to host this solid waste forum to address some of the most pressing issues facing the county and to allow citizens the opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback from experts in the field.” The county is in the process of looking into the construction of a trash-burning incinerator, or what is being called a ‘‘waste-to-energy facility.” These plants uses trash as fuel to generate electricity that could be sold to an electric utility, such as Allegheny Power.

Waste-to-energy on agenda

Frederick News Post
Liam Farrell
02/17/2006
The day trash from Frederick County residents powers their houses is still years away, but county commissioners are investigating that possibility. The board unanimously passed a resolution Thursday to begin formulating a strategy on creating a facility that would generate power from recycling solid waste. The resolution was a formal declaration of the county's interest in pursuing a waste-to-energy option. "It's a little bit different than what we've looked at before," Commissioner Jan Gardner said. "It is, I believe, kind of the ultimate in recycling." Commissioner John Lovell Jr. has a similar opinion about turning waste into energy. "It's certainly what I consider to be the long-term solution we've been looking for," he said. R.W. Beck and Associates completed a study of Frederick's potential for such a facility in October 2005. According to that study, which considered the planning period from 2011- 2031, building its own waste-to-energy facility could be as cost-effective for the county as shipping waste to a regional facility. Now that the county has acknowledged formal interest, it will be able to consider serious proposals from waste to energy providers.