Weekly News Bulletin: Sep. 12-18, 2012


Audit Reveals Problems and Lost Revenue at Dallas' Landfill

An audit report indicates "a strong likelihood" that the City of Dallas lost $1.1 million over the last 11 years at its McComas Bluff Landfill due to loose financial controls. As reported in the Dallas Morning News, the audit revealed that some haulers overestimated the weight of their vehicles in order to under report the waste for which they should have been charged. Some haulers gave out other haulers' truck numbers that sometimes went unpaid. And, there were few controls over the cashiers themselves, who were sometimes paid in cash and could cheat the computer system, among many other problems. Particularly problematic is that the Sanitation Services department was informed of these issues in 2009 but did not address them. Just before the audit was made public, sanitation services director Mary Nix was demoted to assistant director of Public Works, but the city has not revealed why...Read More »



Ohio Supreme Court Overturns Rumpke Case for Expansion

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled that Rumpke's landfill in Colerain Township cannot claim to be a public utility, which would have made it exempt from local zoning restrictions. The company adopted the public utility argument to circumnavigate the township's refusal to allow the company's $145.5 million expansion of the site which is one of the state's largest landfills. However, the high court did not address the legal issues surrounding the township's refusal.

The court said in its unanimous ruling that a private landfill is not a public utility if it sets its own rates and is not obligated to accept all waste delivered there. In doing so, it reversed an appellate court ruling in December 2010. The case goes back to 2006 when Rumpke sued the township for violating its constitutional rights by not allowing the company to develop the 350 acres of land it already owned. To bolster its case, Rumpke attorneys revised the complaint to include the public utility argument...Read More »



Environmentalists Say Coal Ash Problems in Montana Show Need for Federal Regulation

Environmental groups are pointing to recent events involving coal ash impoundment ponds in Montana and Pennsylvania as evidence that federal regulation is needed and that state oversight alone is insufficient to guard against environmental harm. In Montana, groups including the Sierra Club have filed a petition asking the state's environmental review board to overrule a Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) consent order against PPL Montana's coal ash impoundment facility in Colstrip. The groups argue that the state's generous compliance schedules allow facility owners to postpone cleaning up and improving storage systems indefinitely without financial penalties. In Pennsylvania, the state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) sued to shut down a 1,700-acre coal ash impoundment operated by FirstEnergy, that has been leaking toxics into nearby groundwater, only after groups including the Environmental Integrity Project and others filed a notice of intent to sue...Read More »



Covanta Forms Joint Venture to Recover Metals from Ash Landfills

Covanta Energy Corp. (Morristown, NJ), in its efforts to recover more metals from its waste streams, has recently formed a joint-venture with a German company to help recover metals from waste-to-energy ash monofills in North America. Covanta said its partnership with Berlin-based Tartech Eco Industries AG will be called Covanta Tartech LLC which will provide a proprietary technology that maximizes the recovery of ferrous and non-ferrous material for recycling. The recent move to go after metal in ash monofills amplifies efforts begun in March when Covanta formed a strategic alliance with industrial recycling and product recovery company Steinert US Inc to deploy more sophisticated metals recovery systems at its plants. "Following an extensive review of our options to recover more metal for recycling from our operations, we are thrilled to be partnering with Tartech," said Seth Myones, Covanta Energy chief operating officer...Read More »



Waste Management Issues $500 Million in Senior Notes

Waste Management Inc. (Houston, TX) has sold $500 million in senior unsecured notes bearing an interest rate of 2.90% and maturing on September 15, 2022. Proceeds from the offering will be used to repay $400 million senior notes, carrying an interest rate of 6.375% and maturing this year, and will also be used for general corporate purposes including additions to working capital and capital expenditures. Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas Securities, and Merrill Lynch are joint book runners and lead managers on the deal...Read More »



Waste to Fuel Pioneer Terrabon Files Chapter 7

Waste to fuel developer Terrabon Inc. (Houston, TX) filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy after failing to receive new financing from Waste Management, a principal investor. Terrabon produces high-octane gasoline from waste. Other investors include Valero Energy Corp., the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, Texas Systems & Controls, CRI Catalyst Co. and Logos Technologies Inc...Read More »



MaxWest Begins Operating Advanced Biosolids Gasification System

MaxWest Environmental Systems Inc. (Sanford, FL) has begun operating a new second generation biosolids gasification system at its facility in Florida. The new system is an upgrade that employs a proprietary gasifier and integrated energy recovery process that will boost throughput by 40 percent with higher energy conversion rates. "This new MaxWest design is a significant step forward in terms of thermal efficiency and reliability of biosolids gasification," said company CEO Steve Winchester. The company boasts that this is the only commercially-proven, dedicated biosolids gasification facility in the United States...Read More »



Fully Integrated Subsidiary Renamed "Casella Organics"

Casella Waste Systems (Rutland, VT) is highlighting the importance of deriving value from its waste stream by celebrating a quarter-century of organics recycling and renaming its New England Organics business as Casella Organics. "We believe the organics portion of the waste stream represents the next big mainstream resource renewal and recycling opportunity," said John Casella, CEO of Casella Waste Systems. "Along with Organics, we are investing in the people, technology, and infrastructure to provide innovative solutions to customers across the Northeast who share our commitment to recycling and recovering more of the valuable resources available in the waste stream," Casella said. In all, the group manages upwards of 700,000 tons per year of materials and provides products to nearly 1,000 customers throughout the northeast...Read More »



Sims Metal Buys Electronics Recycler E-Structors

Australian recycling giant Sims Metal Management Ltd., through its Sims Recycling Solutions electronics recycling division (SRS), has acquired E-Structors Inc., based in Elkridge, MD. E-Structors, founded in 2003, has a 160,000-square-foot facility that processes 22 million pounds of material each year and serves customers in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. Its proprietary electronics shredding system improves the quality of the post-processed material and offers clients the security of total physical destruction. The new site is the 15th North American recycling center for SRS. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed...Read More »



Waste Pro Relocates Recycling Facility After Tornado

Waste Pro USA (Longwood, FL) has relocated its Birmingham, AL recycling facility after the previous operation had been destroyed by a tornado last January. The new 87,000 square-foot facility houses two high-output balers that will operate simultaneously to process multiple streams of material. Together they will process over 7,500 tons of recycled material per month. None of Waste Pro's employees were hurt in the tornado...Read More »



Correction and Clarification Regarding FirmGreen Inc.

Background: In November last year, the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) and FirmGreen Inc. (Newport Beach, CA), its contractor to build a large landfill gas-to-energy project, ended their partnership with the settlement of various lawsuits filed against one another.

Subsequent to FirmGreen's filing of force majeure claims referenced and found in the previous agreement between the parties, SWACO filed suit against FirmGreen. FirmGreen filed countersuit, alleging SWACO was in material breach of its obligations under a number of contracts in place with FirmGreen, including an alleged misuse of FirmGreen's intellectual property. FirmGreen and SWACO collectively agreed to void the contract after return to FirmGreen of it's equipment, with an approximate valuation of about $4 million, and cancellation of all intellectual property rights previously issued to SWACO. FirmGreen has secured the rights to develop a subsequent project on a US Landfill, where it intends to deploy and put to use such equipment...Read More »


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