New trash disposal option considered

Source: Frederick News Post
Author: Karen Gardner
Article Type:
Date Published: 03/05/2009

The county’s waste-to-energy debate just got a little more complicated. Frederick County Commissioners Jan Gardner and Charles Jenkins announced Wednesday that they will look into another trash disposal option. This one uses a mechanical biological treatment system. The commissioners have considered building a $527 million incinerator that would burn trash and convert some of it into electricity. The idea has passionate supporters and detractors. Gardner and Jenkins plan to go to a March 16 conference in Philadelphia and meet with representatives of ArrowBio, the most well-known builder of mechanical biological treatment systems. None exist in the United States. There is one in Australia and one in Israel. The commissioners have boosted household recycling options this year. Still, that probably won’t significantly reduce the 600 to 800 tons of daily residential trash that the county collects. Most of the county’s trash is trucked to a landfill in southern Virginia, an option the county will have through 2015. The commissioners are looking for a more permanent option. “On a number of fronts, ArrowBio seems promising,” Jenkins said at Wednesday’s press conference. A ballpark estimate of the cost is $75 million to $100 million. If the county decides to build an incinerator with Wheelabrator, the company county staff recommends, the plant could cost the county up to $325 million. Carroll County would pay the rest. The two counties would share the plant, but it would be built in Frederick County.