Solid Waste Advisory Council visits energy-from-waste facility

Members of the Rutherford County Solid Waste Advisory/Steering Council recently visited a facility in Huntsville, Alabama that converts trash to energy.

Members of the Rutherford County Solid Waste Advisory/Steering Council are hearing how the boilers work as part of the Covanta facility’s energy-from-waste process.

In their tour of the Covanta Energy facility, they saw how solid waste can be used to generate clean, renewable energy. Covanta touts its process as being a superior sustainable alternative to landfills.

This is the crane operator’s view of the trash as it is dumped from trucks on the right and how the operator mixes and piles the trash on the left. That pile will be fed into the boilers as fuel.

With the Middle Point Landfill expected to reach capacity no later than 2024,  the Solid Waste Advisory Council is working to find a solution. The cost of solid was without question will go up, but the group is looking for a way forward that is sound fiscally and environmentally.

Monitors allow the operator to observe inside each boiler and to keep track of trucks bringing in waste.

The Advisory Council earlier visited a similar facility in Wilson County.

After Middle Point fills up, what next?

This photo of the Middle Point Landfill ran last year in the Daily News Journal.

With Middle Point Landfill expected to reach capacity no later than 2024, and possibly earlier, what comes next for solid waste in Rutherford County?

That is what the Rutherford County Solid Waste Advisory/Steering Committee is studying. They will gather again at a date to be determined for their third workshop to consider the county’s needs and the options that might be available. They already have met twice.

At the last workshop, they looked at how other communities are handling similar situations. Read details in the presentation they heard.

Look over some of the options they heard about (below), and tell us what you think at Join the Conversation (upper left on this page), or here, or by email at RenewalRutherford@gmail.com.

  • A transfer station where waste could be held before being hauled in large trailers to an out-of-county landfill.
  • Hauling waste directly out of the county.
  • Expanding Middle Point.
  • A waste-to-energy (WTE) process that converts trash to energy that is often sold to large industrial users.
  • Mixed waste processing, which processes waste and extracts recyclables.
  • A materials recovery facility (MRF) that receives, separates, and prepares recyclable materials for sale.

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