The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has issued the three major environmental permits required to move forward with construction of the regional 51 MW waste to energy project planned for Frederick County.

The Board of Commissioners explained that currently transfers more than 90% of its trash to out-of-state landfills due to the county’s limited landfill capacity. However, this method is said to be unpredictable and has cost the county more than $83 million since the transfer was first initiated.

With a regional waste to energy facility, the board said that Frederick County could save millions of taxpayer dollars as compared to other waste disposal methods.

According to the board the project will bring a reliable solution to the county for its residual waste which has already been through a recycling process, while generating energy, creating hundreds of local jobs and economic stimulus and meeting stringent environmental standards.

The facility, being planned in partnership with waste to energy specialist, Wheelabrator Technologies – subsidiary of Waste Management (NYSE: WM) – is designed to process an average of 1500 tons (1360 tonnes) of residual municipal solid waste per year

The solid waste, air and water discharge permits for the waste to energy facility were issued by Maryland environmental officials following an extensive public engagement process – including five public information meetings, two public hearings and an almost six-month period in which the state accepted written comments on its proposed permits.

The Board of Commissions noted that the air quality permits and approvals include requirements to limit and mitigate mercury emissions that are more stringent than is required under state and federal law.

Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority (NMWDA) executive director, Chris Skaggs commented: “The state also recognises energy produced from waste-to-energy facilities as Tier 1 renewable energy, which is particularly important for Maryland’s efforts to boost the amount of energy generated by renewable sources.”

”The regional waste to energy facility has been studied by Frederick County public officials for almost a decade, and it has been supported by two independent Boards of County Commissioners as well as a majority of Frederick County’s state legislative delegation,” he added.

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