County landfill to get $3 million in stimulus funds

Buncombe County will receive $3 million in federal stimulus funds to make improvements that will extend the life of the landfill and set up an energy system that will provide 1,100 homes with electricity, according to an announcement from the county.

Through harnessing methane produced by the landfill’s waste, the funds would create a system that would provide electricity to homes in the area. Another portion of the funds would go to better wastewater processing, intended to both extend the life of the landfill and reduce the cost of waste-water hauling by the Metropolitan Sewer District.

The funds come out of $70 million provided to the state of North Carolina for its Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the program will be pursued in cooperation with the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The total estimated cost of the landfill program is $3.5 million, and the announcement notes that the county has already applied for a $500,000 grant from the EPA.

The full announcement is below.

— David Forbes, staff writer

Buncombe County will receive $3,000,000 of stimulus funds through the NC Clean Water State Revolving Fund that will be used to extend the life of the County landfill and supply 1,100 homes with electricity by expanding the County’s wastewater pre-treatment and renewable energy system at the landfill.

The landfill program is a partnership with the US EPA and NC DENR, using leachate (the liquid that migrates through, or out of, the waste within a landfill) recirculation as a means of reducing wastewater flow to MSD and improving the quality of the discharged leachate. The funds will enhance the existing recirculation system which eliminated 38 days of leachate hauling to MSD in 2008 at a typical rate of 6 tanker loads per day.

With the $3 million grant through the State’s stimulus money, Buncombe County will expand the existing pre-treatment system to increase the amount of methane gas generated, making renewable energy (electricity) generation from the gas viable. An electric generator will be installed to supply enough renewable energy to power 1,100 homes in the landfill’s vicinity.

This investment will also provide an additional source of revenue to help offset rising disposal costs, which in turn will delay future tipping fee increases. The increased decomposition and settlement will lengthen the life of the landfill by allowing for greater garbage density at the existing site. Creation of an additional source of energy/electricity supports the President’s initiative to reduce dependence on foreign oil and the reduction of green house gases.

The State was allocated a total of $70,729,065 through stimulus funds to be applied to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. Individual awards were capped at $3 million. Though referred to as a loan only program, the program will fund 50 percent of each project as a completely forgiven loan (essentially a grant), and 50 percent as a zero interest loan to be repaid over 20 years. The estimated cost of the County’s landfill project is $3.5 million, and the County will continue to seek additional funding through other grant opportunities; currently an application is being made to the US EPA for a Climate Showcase Communities grant, which has a potential award of $500,000.


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