Weekly News Bulletin: Apr. 2-8, 2009


$56 billion Waste Industry Shows Solidarity in Tough Times, May Consolidate Further

A new report by Waste Business Journal estimates that 505 million tons of municipal wastes (MSW) were generated last year in the US, down slightly from 510 million tons in 2007 due to the economy. Collecting, processing and disposing of these wastes generated $55.7 billion in industry revenue. While MSW is said to be recession resistant, it is a product of a steadily increasing population and consumer behavior (we will always generate trash), close to 25% of the waste stream is comprised of commercial and industrial wastes from businesses. Even more vulnerable are construction and demolition debris (C&D) wastes whose volumes plummeted 15% in 2008, having fallen 7% in the year before. Despite the decline in volumes, waste management companies have managed to hold the line on pricing and actually win 4-6% increases that have helped them maintain positive revenue and earnings growth more than offsetting the loss of business...Read More »



Advanced Disposal Buys Divested Republic Assets in Atlanta

Advanced Disposal Services Inc. said it too was acquiring assets from Republic Services being divested as a result of Republic's recent merger with Allied Waste Industries. They include 13 commercial solid waste collection routes and contracts in the Atlanta metropolitan area as well as two municipal solid waste (MSW) transfer stations, one in Gwinnett County (Lawrenceville, GA) and one in Cobb County (Smyrna, GA). Terms of the transaction that was completed April 1, were not disclosed. "This transaction represents Advanced Disposal's continued growth in existing markets to better optimize our Atlanta collection operations and greater disposal internalization through the two MSW transfer stations," said Charlie Appleby, CEO of Advanced Disposal. The move also allows the company to dispose of more waste at its own landfills through the two transfer stations...Read More »



EPA Considers Hybrid Regulatory Approach to Coal Ash

The EPA is considering a "hybrid" approach to the regulation of coal combustion waste (CCW) that combines hazardous and solid waste provisions of waste law. Speaking at a meeting of the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) on March 22, Matt Hale, director of EPA's Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, said it would be similar to the agency's 1999 proposal to regulate cement kiln dust as a "special" waste. Under that scheme, kiln dust was categorized as a RCRA subtitle D solid waste in the event that certain disposal guidelines were followed, including groundwater monitoring, closure and post-closure financial assurance and monitoring guarantees and other provisions. If those guidelines were not followed, the waste would be considered a RCRA subtitle C hazardous waste subject to more stringent disposal requirements. Regulating CCW in this way gives individual states more flexibility while also appealing to wider group of stakeholders both environmentalists and industry...Read More »



Sen. Murkowski Offers Watered-Down Renewable Electricity Standard (RES)

Senate energy committee Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is working on renewable electricity standard (RES) legislation that would set a lower target and broader definition of "renewable" energy than the RPS bill submitted by committee chair Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), designed to appeal more to energy companies and consumers and more likely to win passage in the committee or Senate. Bingaman's current proposal would require utilities to secure 20 percent of their electricity supply from renewable resources -- solar, wind, geothermal, ocean, biomass, landfill gas, and incremental hydro by 2021. In contrast, Murkowski is considering a 15% by 2021 and would "take both new and existing nuclear [power] out of the baseline" from which the renewable power percentages are measured, making compliance with an RES easier. Under the Bingaman proposal, only hydropower and municipal solid waste facilities are taken out of the baseline. She said her legislation might "remove the five percent cap" on energy efficiency that Bingaman's bill includes...Read More »



Waste Management Buys Two Lamp Recycling Outfits

Waste Management, Inc. said it acquired two florescent light recycling companies H.T.R. Inc. and Earth Protection Services, Inc. and combined them with its WM LampTracker subsidiary, which focuses on the recycling of compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). In addition to its CFL processing facility in Roseville, Minnesota, WM LampTracker now has processing facilities in the following locations: Kaiser, MO; Glendale, AZ; and Williamston, SC. Other operational locations include facilities in Arizona, California, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas. "Waste Management is making great strides in growing our universal waste recycling business, and we are excited to extend our capabilities with more processing facilities and a new customer base," said Rick Cochrane, senior business director of Waste Management's WM LampTracker program...Read More »



Republic Services Will Cap Landfills with Solar Collectors

Republic Services Inc. is embarking on a new solar power venture the company believes could eventually provide enough electricity to power tens of thousands of homes each year. The plan is to cover portions of soon to be closed areas of active landfills with flexible, laminate-type photovoltaic (PV) solar collection strips glued to the geomembrane used to cover and close a landfill as it reaches capacity. It is testing the system at its Tessman Road Landfill in San Antonio, TX. Some 5.6 acres are covered, and the company expects to generate nine megawatts of electricity. The solar power system, along with the landfill's existing landfill gas-to-energy system, will create enough power to operate 5,500 homes. The company said there also is the potential to eventually install similar solar covers at other landfills to create power for up to 47,000 homes. On top of the energy benefit, "the solar energy cover is easier to inspect, maintain and repair than a traditional clay cap, and is technically superior in terms of odor control and storm water management," said Tony Walker, project manager for Republic Services...Read More »



South Carolina Senate Approves Moratorium on New landfills

South Carolina's Senate has approved legislation that would temporarily ban new landfills in the state pending new regulations that would restrict the quantity of waste allowed into existing sites. If approved by the state's House of Representatives, the proposal could take effect as soon as this summer and could last until Dec. 31, 2010. Earlier on, MRR Southern LLC abandoned its landfill project in Williamsburg County due to community opposition. It would have been the state's 19th landfill. South Carolina is the 11th largest importer of waste from other states. In 2008, it received more than 1.3 million tons. Pennsylvania and Virginia were the largest importers last year taking in 8.6 million tons and 6.2 million tons respectively...Read More »



Fortistar Acquires another Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project

White Plains, NY-based energy developer Fortistar said it has purchased a newly constructed 3.2 MW landfill gas to energy project in Trinity Oaks, TX from a private developer. Caterpillar Financial Services is providing debt for the acquisition. Jon Maurer, Managing Director of Fortistar, said, "This acquisition is a continuation of our plans to significantly expand our landfill gas portfolio." Fortistar now has interests in nearly sixty green/ renewable projects generating the equivalent of over 370 MWs. This makes Fortistar one of the largest owners of landfill gas projects in the country with about 12% of operating landfill gas projects...Read More »



Waste Connections Completes Acquisition of Assets from Republic

Waste Connections said it completed the initial closing of its previously announced $313 million acquisition of certain assets from Republic Services, Inc. being divested as a result of Republic Services' recent merger with Allied Waste Industries, Inc. The assets acquired include five municipal solid waste landfills, three collection operations and two transfer stations across five markets: Southern California; Denver, CO; Houston, TX; Greenville/Spartanburg, SC; and Flint, MI. Closing of the remaining assets from Republic remains subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval...Read More »



Waste Management Healthcare Buys Facility and Permit in Georgia

WM Healthcare Solutions, Inc., a subsidiary of Waste Management, Inc., announced that it has acquired the land, building and the associated permit to operate a medical waste processing business in Woodstock, GA. The company will upgrade the plant to reopen in the next several months in order to serve medical customers throughout Georgia and adjacent states...Read More »



FirstEnergy to Convert Coal Plant to Biomass; Largest in the Country

Electric power company FirstEnergy Corp. said it will spend $200 million to convert two coal burning units at an eastern Ohio power plant to burn renewable biomass like wood chips and crops grown as fuel. The converted units will potentially have the same generating capacity as the current coal operation, enough to power 190,000 homes." Retrofitting the Burger Plant for biomass will expand our diverse generation portfolio even further and continue our support of state and federal efforts to increase reliance on renewable energy sources," FirstEnergy chief executive Anthony Alexander said in a statement. The plan is part of a 2005 agreement stemming from a federal court case in which FirstEnergy agreed to reduce pollution from its power plants, pay fines and cleanup costs at four plants. It was the second-largest federal settlement with an electric utility over air pollution...Read More »



Joseph Holsten to Join Covanta Board of Directors

Covanta Holding Corp. said that joining its Board of Directors is Joseph M. Holsten, Chief Executive Officer of LKQ Corporation. LKQ is the largest nationwide provider of recycled and aftermarket automobile replacement products. Mr. Holsten was previously Chief Operating Officer of Waste Management, Inc. and Chief Executive Officer of a subsidiary, Waste Management International plc. "We are delighted and indeed fortunate to welcome to the Covanta Board a seasoned executive such as Joe Holsten," said Sam Zell, Covanta's Chairman...Read More »


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