Weekly News Bulletin: Jan. 11-17, 2011


Growing Optimism that EPA will Regulate Coal Ash as Non-Hazardous Waste

As EPA reviews comments on its first-time plan to regulate coal ash as a waste, industry groups are growing optimistic that the agency will ultimately favor a less stringent non-hazardous approach. Evidence includes an unprecedented fight between EPA and the White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB), near-unanimous opposition to a subtitle C approach, including by many members of Congress, all 50 states, other federal agencies and many industry groups. As a sign that the agency is preparing for less direct control, EPA officials are also working on new Clean Water Act (CWA) rules regulating discharges from coal ash impoundments and other utility sources, case-by-case oversight to ensure reporting under the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and possible rules governing products containing coal ash. Environmentalists who favor the strict subtitle C rules welcome additional measures such as CWA effluent limitations but worry that these are insufficient because they will not address transport, handling and storage requirements that can only be regulated under subtitle C...Read More »



Developer Moving Forward with $126 million 20 MW Waste Gasification Plant in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, NC-based Forsite Development, Inc. is moving forward with plans to develop a $300 million "Renewable Energy Industrial Park," or "ReVenture Park" on a redeveloped 667-acre federal superfund site. A centerpiece of the project is a $126 million 20 megawatt waste gasification plant, scaled back from 50 megawatts that had been originally proposed, but still capable of processing an estimated 370,000 tons of regular municipal solid waste (MSW) per year. Forsite has selected Kansas-based ICM Inc., a builder of primarily ethanol gasifiers with a 15-year history in ethanol production, in part because its demonstration facility, in rural Harvey County, KS, has the ability to process at least a dozen different fuels, from corn stalks and wood chips to trash. Its straight forward design is another compelling factor. The facility employs a large, horizontal slow-moving auger to move fuel through its gasifier allowing for a more controlled process. An oxidizer and a wet electromagnetic precipitator capture pollutants and particulate matter.

In conjunction with the waste-to-energy plant is a planned $30 million recycling facility being developed in partnership with FCR Casella, a division of Casella Waste Systems (Rutland, VT), which already operates the nearby Mecklenburg County recycling center...Read More »



Environmentalists Urge Industry to Stop Trying to Repeal Landfill Bans on Yard Waste

Environmental groups are urging the waste management industry to stop lobbying to repeal state laws that prohibit the disposal of yard waste in landfills. A Jan. 4 open letter from environmental groups that include the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and others, urge Waste Management Inc. and the National Solid Waste Management Association (NSWMA) to stop lobbying for the repeal of the laws, which 23 states have enacted, mostly during the 1990's. They argue that the laws have been "responsible for almost half of the [landfill] diversion that the American people have achieved," have "provided a source of nutrients for composters to help restore fertility to our depleted soils," have reduced "the release into the atmosphere of greenhouse gas and hazardous air pollutants," and lessened "a major cause of future instability in landfills that threaten surface and groundwater. Yet, beginning in 2002, there has been increasing efforts by the landfill industry to repeal these successful laws, reaching a crescendo in the last year, when you are reported to have led efforts to repeal these statues in Georgia, Michigan and Florida," according to the letter. To date, the only successful effort has been in Florida, where the state legislature late last year overturned Gov. Charlie Crist's veto of House Bill 569. Industry groups for their part, argue that in many cases municipalities do not have the wherewithal to establish composting programs and that landfilling yard waste yields methane that can be recaptured for energy...Read More »



Covanta Energy Aims to Build $622 Million Waste-to-Energy Plant in Wales

Covanta Energy Corp. is proposing to build a $622 million (£400 million) waste-to-energy facility in south Wales near Merthyr Tydfil. Covanta says the plant would employ 65 people, take about 750,000 metric tons of non-recyclable waste per year and generate 70 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 180,000 Welsh homes or all the homes in the Merthyr and Caerphilly areas. Waste would be brought to the site on an existing rail line that will link to a number of rail operated waste transfer stations to be created across Wales. Covanta says it will be solely responsible for financing, building and operating the plant which will present no financial risk to local authorities...Read More »



Ohio EPA Tightening Regulation of C&D Landfills

The Ohio EPA has introduced new more stringent rules for construction and demolition debris (C&DD) landfills that would require synthetic liners for the first time at new or expanded landfills handling the waste. The rules would also require more extensive groundwater monitoring at wood waste and other inert material dump sites. Ohio C&DD landfills collectively accept about 7 million tons of debris annually, 40 percent of which originates out-of-state from the east coast and Ontario, Canada. Some landfill owners argue that the new rules would significantly increase their costs and consequently drive some operators out of the market. Ohio EPA officials say that the new rules are needed to protect the environment and public health as originally required by the Ohio General Assembly in 2005. The agency published initial draft rules in 2006, but public response forced the agency to conduct additional studies and make revisions...Read More »



Joint Venture Awarded $75 Million Loan for Waste-to-Ethanol Plant in Florida

A joint venture between INEOS Bio and New Planet Energy said it had received a conditional commitment for a $75 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 9003 Biorefinery Assistance Program. The funds will be used to build its first INEOS BioEnergy Center, near Vero Beach, FL, which will produce 8 million gallons (24,000 tons) of ethanol per year together with 6 megawatts (gross) of renewable power from biomass including yard, vegetative and wood wastes and municipal solid waste (MSW). Site preparation is already under way for the plant which is slated to begin production in 2012...Read More »



Waste Management to Report 4Q and Full Year Earnings on Feb. 17

Waste Management, Inc. (Houston, TX) said it plans to release fourth quarter and full year 2010 financial results before the opening of the markets on Thursday, February 17. The company will host a conference call at 10 am that morning to discuss those results with investors...Read More »



CEA Crafting 'Industry-Wide, National' E-Waste Recycling Initiative

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is leading an effort to develop a "national, industry-wide" electronics recycling program that will "ensure all parties involved are held to high industry practices, accountability and standards," according to its sustainability report. While state mandates are driving responsible management of e-waste, many CE companies are "moving beyond compliance programs and are incorporating recycling and take-back initiatives into their core business models," the report said. Such voluntary initiatives give companies a "competitive edge" by boosting brand "reputation" and creating new business opportunities, it said. Many manufacturers would also like to see a uniform federal standard that might supersede a patchwork of often inconsistent state and local laws. Currently, 23 states including most recently New York, have e-waste laws, most of which are based on some variation of the producer pays concept. Citing the R2 and e-Stewards as programs that promote safe recycling practices, the CEA said the industry supports the "movement toward third-party recycler certification and encourages consumers to choose electronics recyclers that are certified by a credible program."...Read More »



Fulcrum BioEnergy Signs Two Waste-to-Ethanol Deals with WM and WCN

Fulcrum BioEnergy, Inc. (Pleasanton, CA), which is developing a $120 million waste-to-ethanol plant near Reno, NV, said has signed two deals with Waste Management and Waste Connections that will supply waste as feedstock for the operation. Both deals are set to commence once the plant begins operating in late 2012. Fulcrum did not disclose financial details of either deal. Fulcrum said the Sierra BioFuels plant will produce large volumes of low-cost transportation fuel and create more than 500 jobs in Northern Nevada while ultimately producing 10.5 million gallons (39.7 million litres) of ethanol annually and 16 megawatts of renewable electricity. Irving, Texas-based Fluor Corp. is building the plant. Fulcrum is in talks with the Department of Energy over terms of loan guarantees to help pay for the plant...Read More »



Industrial Services of America Expects Banner Year with 88% Jump in Revenue

Industrial Services of America Inc. (Louisville, KY) said that preliminary figures indicate that revenue for 2010 could exceed $340 million, an 88 percent increase from $181 million in 2009 and up from $100 million in 2008. Much of the gains are attributable to its recent expansion of its metals recovery business. "As ISA moves forward into 2011," the news release said, "the company looks to continue its growth and improve its profitability." ISA said it expects to announce complete 2010 financial results in March...Read More »



Dover's Environmental Solutions Acquires DuaLift Product Line

Chattanooga, TN-based Environmental Solutions Group (ESG) has acquired the DuaLift, KwikLift and LowLift lines of roll-on/roll-off hoists manufactured by Iberia, OH-based Refuse Parts Inc (RPI). "The roll-off business has essentially not changed in the last 30 years," said Dick Williams, vice president of sales and marketing for RPI. "RPI's product line offering addresses many of the age-old problems haulers encounter in the roll-off business daily." ESG is a division of Dover Corporation (Downers Grove, IL) which was formed in Feb. last year that includes Heil Environmental, Marathon Equipment Co. and Bayne Premium Lift Systems...Read More »



Woodland Biofuels Receives Investment in $12 Million Waste-to-Fuel Plant

Woodland Biofuels (Mississauga, ON) said it closed a common equity investment that is part of a $12 million in financing to build a waste-to-fuel demonstration facility that will eventually produce cellulosic ethanol from renewable wastes. The plant will use Woodland's patented technology to produce sustainable fuels from virtually any type of biomass, including wood waste, agricultural waste and municipal waste. Investors include the Ontario Emerging Technologies Fund (OETF), Investeco Capital, and David LeGresley, former Vice-Chairman of National Bank Financial...Read More »


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