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County Comment: County Adds New Grease and Styrofoam Recycling, Methane Recovery Programs

County Comment
County Adds New Grease and Styrofoam Recycling, Methane Recovery Programs
by Norman Bassett, Public Information Officer
Washington County, Maryland

When Cliff Engel was hired as Deputy Director of the Washington County Division of Environmental Management-Solid Waste away from Carroll County, he says he was told by County Administrator Greg Murray, "Here's a list of environmental initiatives. You have a week to get them going".
In the regular meeting of the Washington County Board of County Commissioners on April 28th, Engel and Recycling Coordinator Harvey Hoch were given the go-ahead for several of those programs, including setting up an agreement with Curtis Engine, a Maryland company with working methane recovery projects in two Maryland Counties. The program, which would use methane gas created by deteriorating garbage in the 40-West Landfill to create energy, is underway in Prince George's and Worcester Counties and is helping to provide heat and light for government buildings.
Curtis Engine proposes to design and install a landfill gas recovery system at the Route 40 Landfill to include an enclosed flare, a blower skid, instrumentation, and the necessary wells and piping to collect the gas. The project will qualify for VCS carbon credits and the County will receive 10% of the cash proceeds until costs are recovered.
After the documented costs are recovered, the County will receive 25% of the cash proceeds.
Curtis says it will spend upwards of $1 million on the system documented costs and assuming that engineers' estimates of gas volume are correct, the County will receive approximately $35,000 per year, increasing as the gas flows grow, and over $120,000 once the documented costs are recovered.
In Phase 2 of the project, Curtis Engine proposes to design, build, operate and maintain a landfill-gas-to-electricity plant at the Route 40 Landfill
Curtis Engine will be responsible for financing, operating, and maintaining the project at no cost to Washington County.
In addition to continuing to receive the carbon credit revenue, the proposal says the County will receive an annual cash payment for the gas collected and used to fuel the generators.
Kitchen oil and grease will be recycled, with implementation of an agreement with Valley Proteins, that will allow for drop off of household and commercial oils at 40-West. This program will mean that the oil and grease is not poured down the drain, and will not have to be extracted from the wastewater flow at the County's wastewater treatment plants.
Styrofoam OR polystyrene #6 packing material and insulation takes up significant landfill space and is not easily compacted. The purchase of recycling equipment approved by the Commissioners will produce a product that can be recycled into picture frames, utensils, shoes, CD/DVD cases, and other recycled plastics. Revenue of $0.05 - $0.10 per pound will be generated, through an agreement with RecycleTech.
A new partner for the County's e-Cycling program for electronics was approved. UNICOR is a Quasi-Federal Government entity, and said it will recycle TV's and CRT's for 18 cents per pound, with computers recycled for free. The previous e-Cycling vendor raised its rates from 5 cents to 26 cents per pound for the items.
Laying a tarp over active cells in the landfill will save time, money and personnel hours. Each active cell in a landfill is required to be covered over during nighttime hours with a layer of topsoil. This process is labor intensive and must take place twice a day, to remove the soil in the mornings, and then to re-layer the material in the evenings.
The tarp system is expected to save the County about $362,500.00 per year at a cost of $29,635.00.
Household hazards will be recycled during an event planned for June 6th, in an intergovernmental agreement with Maryland Environmental Services. Solvents, insecticide, and other hazardous chemicals can be dropped off at 40-West landfill on that day.

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