Weekly News Bulletin: Jun. 27-Jul. 3, 2012


Harrisburg Selects Lancaster for Negotiations on Troubled Incinerator

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) said it has been selected over other bidders to enter into negotiations to buy the troubled Harrisburg Incinerator or Materials Energy Recycling Recovery Facility (HMERRF). The Office of the Receiver for the City of Harrisburg, PA, a state appointee hired to clean up the city's financial troubles, chose LCSWMA after considering proposals from two other entities. LCSWMA's offer proposes to solve two problems, avoid having to expand its own incinerator for $175 million, and provide the City of Harrisburg cash needed to reduce its $317 million of debt which has it teetering on bankruptcy. Lancaster initially offered $45 million along with a promise to upgrade the plant but later increased it to $124 million if the city and Dauphin County would guarantee the waste. Mayor Linda Thompson favored proceeding with a deal but was thwarted by the City Council which later relented to opening a bidding process in which five bidders were qualified and three of which submitted proposals. "We were confident that our solution was the best choice all along," said James Warner, CEO for LCSWMA...Read More »



California Gov. Supports Waste-to-Energy Project

California Governor Jerry Brown's administration said it now supports legislation to revive a controversial waste-to-energy project planned in the Salinas Valley after the California waste department reversed its support and despite concerns raised by environmentalists. Plasco Energy Group (Ottawa, ON) is proposing to build a $175 million energy plant there that employs plasma gasifiers to convert garbage into synthesis gas "syngas" that can be burned cleanly to generate electricity. At issue is whether the Plasco project would qualify as a renewable energy project under state law. The economic viability of the project depends in part on the ability to sell electricity at a premium to utilities eager to buy at least one third of their power from renewable sources by 2020, under state law...Read More »



EPA Begins Civil Rights Investigation of TVA Coal Ash Disposal

EPA's Office of Civil Rights said it will investigate a discrimination complaint filed by residents of Perry County, AL, home to the Arrowhead landfill which has accepted spilled coal ash from the massive Tennessee Valley Authority 2008 spill in Kingston, TN. The residents allege the state violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by issuing the landfill its permits. EPA's OCR wrote a June 14 letter to David Ludder, the attorney representing 54 Perry County residents who filed the civil rights complaint against the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), saying it "has accepted for investigation" the allegations that the state's permitting of Arrowhead Landfill "will adversely and disparately impact the African-American residents in the community." However, the complaint is likely to be difficult to resolve because while it was ADEM that issued the permits to expand the landfill to accommodate the spilled ash, it was EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson who ultimately approved TVA's plan to transfer of the coal ash from relatively wealthy Kingston, TN, to the poor, minority community of Perry County, AL. Title VI generally prohibits recipients of federal funds from engaging in discriminatory behavior. This marks one of the first high-profile petitions EPA has accepted for investigation and stems in part from Jackson's vow to elevate environmental justice issues since she came to the agency...Read More »



Casella Reports 4th Q Loss on Impairment Charge

Casella Waste Systems (Rutland, VT) reported a fiscal fourth quarter loss resulting from an impairment charge and revenue that was off slightly due to lower collection volumes and lower recycling commodity prices, despite 1.3 percent pricing growth. The company reported a net loss of $49 million or $1.83 per share, compared to net income of $48.8 million or $1.85 per share last year. $40.7 million of this loss is the result of an impairment charge related to the potential sale of its Maine Energy Recovery facility while last year's results included a gain of $45.6 million on the disposal of discontinued operations. Revenues for the quarter were $109.2 million, down $0.3 million from last year, with strong collection pricing offset by lower collection volumes and lower recycling commodity prices. Revenues for the year however rose 3.2 percent to $480.8 million on positive pricing and volume growth. Looking ahead to the full year 2013, the company expects revenues of $482 million to $492 million.

"We have implemented a number of strategies to improve financial performance and reduce our exposure to risk in the future," said CEO John Casella. "We continue to see weakness in the economy during the first two months of our fiscal year, with lower special waste volumes to the landfills and lower energy prices."...Read More »



Covanta Launches Advanced Metal Recovery System

Covanta Energy Corp. (Morristown, NJ) has launched a new metal recycling system at its waste-to-energy plant in Fairfax, VA that will likely serve as a template for its other plants. Driving this effort are record high metals prices which have quadrupled in the last decade. Recovering large metal items before the burn process had always been necessary and recovering it from the spent ash had been a nifty side business until more recently when it graduated into a full blown business itself. Covanta generated metal revenues of around $77 million in the year ended March 31, up from $59 million in the prior year. To further enhance its profit from metals recovery, Covanta formed a strategic alliance in March with industrial recycling and product recovery company Steinert US Inc to deploy more sophisticated systems at its plants. The company said that in 2011 its 41 waste-to-energy plants in North America recycled over 400,000 tons of ferrous and over 15,000 tons of non-ferrous metal, enough steel to build five Golden Gate Bridges and produce over one billion aluminum beverage cans...Read More »



Veolia ES Reopens Hazardous Waste Facility Ravaged by Fire

Veolia ES Technical Solutions LLC, the hazardous waste division of Veolia ES North America Corp. (Chicago, IL) has re-opened its hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF) in West Carrollton, Ohio, about three years after a fire caused significant damage there. The West Carrollton facility reclaims eight million gallons per year of oils, paints, solvents, and other hazardous materials, with more than 70 percent of its wastes coming from businesses in the Ohio Valley. "We are delighted that this day has finally come," said Jim Bell, president and CEO of Veolia ES Technical Solutions. "We met with employees 48 hours after the incident and made the commitment that we would rebuild the facility, placing sustainability and safety at the top of our priority list. This new facility is built to the highest industry standards utilizing the most advanced technologies to ensure lower emissions and a safe work environment."...Read More »



EPA Taking Comments on Planned Waste-to-Energy Plant in Puerto Rico

The US EPA held a recent press conference to say it is accepting public comments on its proposed approval of an air permit for a waste-to-energy plant under development in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Its developer Energy Answers International has proposed to build a 77 megawatt facility similar in technology and size to the 3,000 ton-per-day SEMASS facility it developed in Rochester, MA, now owned by Covanta Energy. The Arecibo project would be built at the site of an old paper mill.

The project has a contract with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) to sell 70 megawatts out of 80 megawatts generated at the plant. "Statistics show that the total usage of Puerto Rico is 4,000 megawatts per day and Energy Answers will contribute 2 percent, substituting burned fuel with fuel obtained from trash," said Energy Answers attorney, Rafael Toro...Read More »



Wastequip Recapitalized; Has New Owner and New CEO

Waste equipment manufacturer Wastequip has new owners under a recapitalization plan that replaces $550 million in debt with a $150 million senior secured term loan and a $40 million revolving credit facility. The deal gives control through majority ownership to distressed debt investor Centerbridge Partners LP taking control away from former owner Odyssey Investment Partners LLC. Odyssey acquired Wastequip in January 2007 from DLJ Merchant Banking Partners when it issued a $381 million loan package valuing the overall deal at $611 million. DLJ paid $300 million to acquire Wastequip in 2005, investing $90 million of its own equity. It recapitalized the company in April 2006, extracting a $92.6 million dividend. Wastequip president and CEO John Scott also announced he will retire now that the company has been recapitalized. He is being replaced by Martin Bryant, who served as a senior executive of Dana Corp. from 2008 to 2011...Read More »



Tulsa OKs Contract Extension with Covanta

Covanta Energy Corp. (Morristown, NJ) said its subsidiary Covanta WBH, LLC will continue to operate the City of Tulsa, OK's waste-to-energy plant for another ten years. The agreement with the Tulsa Authority for the Recovery of Energy runs from July 2, 2012 to June 30, 2022, with options to extend the agreement thereafter. The Covanta WBH or "Walter B. Hall" facility was Covanta's first waste-to-energy project, built in 1986 when the company was called Ogden Corporation. Today it processes 300,000 tons of waste annually generating 50,000 megawatt hours of renewable electricity...Read More »



Waste Management to Open 12.8 MW Landfill Energy Plant in Michigan

Waste Management (Houston, TX) has completed a 12.8 MW landfill gas-to-energy plant located at its Pine Tree Acres landfill in Lenox, MI (north of Detroit). The new plant, which will have enough capacity to power 12,000 homes, joins an existing 8.8 MW plant, for a combined capacity of 21.6 MW, enough to power about 19,500 homes. Electricity produced by the plant is sold to Consumers Energy using the transmission network of International Transmission Company. Waste Management currently owns or runs 132 landfill gas projects across North America...Read More »



Veolia Doubles Georgia Landfill Energy Plant to 8 MW

Veolia ES Solid Waste has finished its expansion of a landfill gas-to-energy project at its Taylor County Landfill in Mauk, GA. The plant, developed by Energy Development, Ltd., was doubled from 4 MW to 8 MW, making it now the largest such project in Georgia. Power generated from the facility will be sold to Green Power EMC, a not-for-profit cooperative, under a 15 year Power Purchase Agreement...Read More »



Waste Management Building 6.4 MW Landfill Energy Plant in Ohio

Waste Management (Houston, TX) has broken ground on a 6.4 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy project at its Geneva Landfill in Ashtabula County, Ohio. Once operational by year-end, it will provide enough electricity to power 6,000 homes. "Waste Management is committed to the investments and innovative technology required to bring a state-of-the-art facility like this to the Ashtabula County area," said Jerry Ross, Senior District Manager for Waste Management...Read More »



Fortistar Begins Operating Miramar Landfill 3.2 MW Gas-to-Energy Plant in San Diego

A 3.2 megawatt landfill gas-to-energy project is now operating at the US Navy's Miramar landfill on the Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar in San Diego, CA. The plant was built and is being operated by Fortistar Methane Group (White Plains, NY) under a fifteen year contract with the Navy which owns the land but leases the landfill to the City of San Diego under a long-term lease which extends through 2045. The power plant is expected to meet about half of the base's energy needs and remain operational through 2027...Read More »



Waste Management to Report Second Quarter Results on July 26

Waste Management plans to report its second quarter financial results before the opening of the market on Thursday, July 26. The company will host a conference call later that morning at 10 a.m. (Eastern) to discuss those results...Read More »



Republic Services to Report Second Quarter Results on July 26

Republic Services, Inc. (Phoenix, AZ) plans to announce its second quarter financial results during a company-hosted conference call on Thursday, July 26 at 5 p.m. (Eastern)...Read More »



Progressive Waste to Report Second Quarter Results on July 25

Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. (Toronto, ON) plans to report its second quarter financial results before the opening of the markets on Wednesday, July 25. The company will host a conference call that morning at 8:30 a.m. (Eastern) to discuss those results...Read More »


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