Board of Supervisors Meeting Date: 

Raymond E. Graham, Cedar Run District Supervisor

June 12, 2008


Staff Lead:


Mike Dorsey, Director

Environmental Services


Update on Environmental Services Projects

Topic Description:


Update – Old Landfill Mining & Expansion Project

Closure of the old landfill #149 is required to begin no later than July 1, 2008.  Rather than close this facility in the next year, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has indicated support for a landfill mining and piggyback (expansion) project.   At this time, DEQ has not yet terminated the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that governs the old landfill.

In order to proceed with this project, the County needs to initiate the permitting process through DEQ for (a) mining and (b) landfill expansion.  The first step in the permitting process is to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) for Mining which is relatively straightforward.  A tentative schedule is presented below: 

▪  Advertise a public comment period and public meeting on June 18th & 25th

▪  Hold an onsite public meeting on July 2nd

▪  Update the Board concerning public comments on July 10th

▪  Request the Board pass a resolution on August 14th

▪  Submit the NOI – Mining to DEQ by August 28th

After DEQ approves the NOI for Mining, a permit amendment concerning operations and safety will be prepared and must be approved by DEQ before mining can actually begin. 

Along with preparing the above mining permit application, engineering work will be initiated for a Notice of Intent (NOI) to expand the landfill.  A separate public meeting, additional regulatory requirements and separate Board action are necessary before submitting the NOI-Landfill Expansion.  Given the relatively brief period available to permit and construct a future facility, engineering work to prepare a complete permit application needs to be ongoing during FY 2009 and FY 2010 until completed. 

Update –  Waste to Energy Feasibility

To investigate the feasibility of waste-to-energy (WTE) systems to manage the local waste stream, in April and May, County staff:

▪     Attended a SWANA presentation “Status of Waste-to-Energy & Conversion Technologies”

      presented by Frank Bernheisel, GBB;

▪     Visited Frederick County, Maryland to meet with their WTE consultant Jorgen Haukohl and Bettina

      Kamuk, RAMBOLL;

▪     Attended the North American Waste to Energy Conference (NAWTEC) to hear updates on St. Lucie, Florida’s planned plasma facility.

The SWANA presentation discusses the different WTE technologies and the last two pages summarize their various risk factors.  It is very clear that mass-burn incineration with energy recovery and refuse-derived fuel are the only proven, low-risk technologies in existence today as alternatives to recycling and landfilling.

The meeting in Frederick County, Maryland was useful indicating that Frederick County is projecting expenditures in excess of $15 million in FY 2008 to long-haul their waste to a private landfill in Virginia, and are pursuing the development of a mass-burn WTE system to serve their needs and adjacent Carroll County that is estimated to have a capital cost in excess of $300 million.  In addition, Mr. Jorgen Haukohl, RAMBOLL and Ms. Bettina Kamuk elaborated on their experience designing mass-burn WTE facilities and their travels to Germany and Japan to visit gasification facilities.  Mr. Haukohl was clear that the gasification facilities in these countries have not operated as claimed and are not commercially viable.

Meeting notes are provided for the NAWTEC conference but in summary substantiate the above paragraphs. 


Two critical conclusions can be reached from the waste-to-energy investigation of the last two months:

  • Mass-burn incineration with energy recovery is a proven technology for MSW waste streams to reduce landfill reliance, and there are numerous large-scale facilities available nearby to visit.  However, it has a very high capital cost ($100-200+ million) and often generates strong negative public reaction.

  • Other technologies such as pyrolysis, gasification, and composting have been attempted for several decades but are yet unproven and without representative facilities to visit or acquire data.  In St. Lucie County’s case, estimated capital costs for their proposed plasma facility are $450 million and determined to be equivalent to a mass-burn WTE facility. 


Requested Action of the Board of Supervisors: 

Conduct a work session to review progress to date and provide feedback.


Financial Impacts Analysis:

None at this time. 


Identify any other Departments, Organizations or Individuals that would be affected by this request:

Finance Department

Budget Office


  1. SWANA Presentation
  2. NAWTEC Meeting Overview


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