The options are not incineration vs. a landfill
To deal with its trash (also called solid waste), Frederick County currently operates its own waste transfer station and landfill. In January 2009 Frederick County implemented a residential curbside, single-stream recycling program, but it also long-hauls much of its waste to a landfill in Virginia. This is not the most cost-effective or sustainable of options. The current BoCC can only see two choices of dealing with our future waste; 1) building a trash incinerator, or 2) expanding or building another landfill. However, due to the non-processibles (waste which cannot be combusted) and the residual, hazardous ash a trash incinerator does not negate the need for a landfill.
Several additional options have emerged for handling Frederick’s waste and recyclable resources including responsible buying practices with the county being the leading example, increased business recycling, and the implementation of construction and demolition waste reuse and recycling (this being a major part of the waste stream), and instituting composting at the residential and commercial level. These solutions would create local, ongoing business opportunities, and if maximized would create less residual landfill waste than an incinerator.
Also, on April 28, 2009, the commissioners voted to research the anaerobic digestion process, which is environmentally friendly. However, on June 23, 2009 with a majority vote they decided to move forward with the incinerator even though they did not wait for research on this option to be performed and reported by county staff, as they had said they would do.
Partnership with Carroll County in question
Carroll County, who is to be a 40% partner in this project, now has all 3 county commissioners questioning this venture due to its exorbitant cost: http://westminster.patch.com/articles/trash-talk-the-frederick-carroll-incinerator
If Carroll County withdraws from this partnership, Frederick will have to find another county to join in being the financiers of this facility. Once a solid partnership is established the permitting is approximately a 2-year process. And then the commissioners will have to VOTE in order to move forward with the bonds, which will be financed by our communities for the next 30 YEARS!
Therefore, it’s not too late to stop this decision!
The incinerator definitely does not fit into the county’s solid waste management plan; "A Crossroads for Clean Energy Proposal (PDF)"; the establishment of the Office of Sustainability for a "sustainable community, a happy community, living within our means and providing an environment where we can prosper" (also see letter to Maryland Clean Energy Center, PDF); or the mission statement of the BOCC:
To preserve and enhance the quality of life for all citizens by ensuring optimum services, open government, and creative use of community resources.
In September 2010, however, the BOCC decided to "revise" the wording of the county’s solid waste management plan to allow incineration. In other words, they used their power to maneuver the plan to their liking. Watch the Vote Frederick First video to get quick facts about the incinerator.
How the trash incineration process works
While the specific processes vary, there is broad method for how to get energy from trash. Essentially, solid waste is burned or otherwise combusted. During the combustion phase, heat is generated. That heat is then typically transferred to a boiler where the heat converts water into steam, which in turn rotates a turbine, thereby generating electricity.
The Frederick Board of County Commissioners, as of June 23, 2009, voted 3-2 to move forward with the 526-page proposal for the construction of a trash incinerator to be located at the McKinney Industrial Park–right across the Monocacy River from the historic Monocacy Battlefield and in the heart of a busy residential and commercial area.
The proposed trash burner places the Monocacy Battlefield on the top ten list of the nations’s most endangered Civil War battlefields: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/house-divided/2009/03/gettysburg_again_among_most_en.html
Residents speak out against Governor O’Malley’s push to burn: http://times-news.com/opinion/x1990855605/O-Malley-would-have-Maryland-become-capital-of-incineration, http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-05-10/news/bs-ed-waste-incineration-20110510_1_renewable-energy-new-incinerators-renewable-project
While the cost of the facility is planned to be shared by Carroll County, the specific cost to Frederick County residents is still undetermined. Current projections range from $325- to $615 million dollars for the cost of constructing and operating such a facility. However, technology constantly changes, as do operational and environmental standards. How much more will it cost us to keep up with these standards? Some upgrades can cost millions of dollars.