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The Citizens Advisory Committee for the Conestoga Landfill met on June 21 at the landfill office building. The meetings are open to the public. Representatives of local businesses, civic groups and local governments are updated on progress at the landfill.
Granger Energy is now using all of the methane gas generated in the older section of the Conestoga Landfill.
Dart Container located in Leola is now using methane gas to generate electricity, said Lee Zimmerman, general manager of the Conestoga Landfill. They are using over 2000 cubic feet of green energy per minute.
Methane gas is generated by decomposing waste in the landfill. There are 2 flares in the older section of the Conestoga Landfill which are shut down when excessive gas is sucked out and remain on over weekends or at times when all of the gas is needed.
Other industrial users of landfill gas are New Holland Concrete, Tyson Foods, L. & S. Sweeteners and Fleur d’Lait in the New Holland area.
A new gas line will be built to connect the new expansion area of 154 acres to the existing gas line to Granger in the fall of 2012. The total area of the landfill is 652 acres. The Granger plant is located along Shiloh Road just west of Route 176. Most landfills have a partnership with some group which will use landfill gas. Some companies pump out the processed gas as Granger does while and others use it on site to generate electricity, said Zimmerman.
Three employees from the Conestoga Landfill won awards at the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Mid Atlantic Chapter Regional Landfill Equipment Operator and Truck Driver Road-E-O at the Midshore II Regional Solid Waste Facility in Ridgely, Maryland on June 15. In 2010 and 2011 the event was held at the Conestoga Landfill.
This year three Conestoga Landfill employees won in their divisions: Heavy Equipment operator Christine “Chrissy” Kortze won 1st place in the Landfill Compactor division. Tom Blessing earned 2nd place in the Landfill Compactor division, and Jane LaMotte, a heavy equipment operator, earned 2nd in the Articulated Dump Truck Competition and 4th place in the Articulated Wheel Loader competition. . Zimmerman said the employees are nominated by management and must have an exemplary work record. The SWANA Road-E-O’s are industry competitions held in SWANA regions throughout the United States each year. Participants compete in various events to test operational ability, safety, knowledge, driving shills and equipment agility. The courses require the participants to maneuver heavy equipment or tractor trailers through timed obstacle courses.
A year ago management of the Conestoga Landfill was thinking of going with Caernarvon Township Berks County to use their wastewater treatment plant to process leachate from the landfill, said Zimmerman. They met with them and had workshops and meetings. They shared charts and letters and thought it would be good to go with someone locally. Conestoga would revamp and improve the Morgantown plant. But the management of Republic Services said it was too expensive.
“The people at Morgantown are wonderful to work with. The technical side of the planning was good,” said Zimmerman, “They were looking forward to it. There (would have been) a 20 million dollar upgrade of their plant.”
Now a new treatment facility using a membrane bioreactor system will be built along Quarry Road near an existing flare towards the eastern boundary of the landfill. Republic Services does not want to be in the treatment business. An outside business P.A.L.L. Co. manages the leachate treatment plant, which is located near the truck repair garage. The plant uses a process called reverse osmosis. It costs $.097 cents to treat a gallon of leachate.
“P.A.L.L. Co. has operated the plant for a while. The present treatment system is working fairly well now as it has had its up and down times. Leachate had been trucked to the Exeter Treatment plant or other locations when the onsite plant was not working up to par,” Zimmerman said.
He expects that it will take two to three years to complete the new treatment plant.
Plans are being made to move the offices in three or four years to a location on Conestoga Way, the new entrance which replaces Quarry Road. The truck repair garage will be relocated there. The weigh station has already been located there.
Permitting allows a daily trash haul of 5210 tons, but the trash flow for some time has been about 2200 tons daily.
“There is a recycling site near the office building for residential use. A regional recycling plant at King of Prussia along Henderson Road is busting at the seams,” said Zimmerman.
He said he does not know the prices for recyclable materials, although new uses are being found for everything
The DEP has determined every person generates about 4.6 pounds of waste daily, and about 32 percent of that is recyclable.
“There is an expansive recycling location for construction waste in the Moselem Springs area,” said Zimmerman. “It is located off of Route 322. It is a really big place. The D.E.P. looks in terms of 0 waste… …Whether it will become a reality is questionable.”
He stated that the Conestoga Landfill continues to work with local entities to make improvements. A donation of $2500 is being made to the Twin Valley School District Wrestling program to help with the purchasing a new $10,000 wrestling mat. For its donation, Republic Services can place its logo on a corner of the mat.
“Landfills will wrack their brains so they can help the community,” said Zimmerman. “It is the right thing to do.”
He pointed out that the company had previously made a donation of $42,000 to the Berks County Conservation District to preserve some land
“They were surprised,” he said.
$5,000,000 has been set aside to maintain the Conestoga landfill for a 30 year period after it is shut down as ordered by D.E.P. An outside company is hired for that job.
Waste comes to the Conestoga Landfill from Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Virginia. Local counties sending rubbish are Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, and Schuylkill. Usually three or four truckloads a month trigger the radiation detector located near the weigh station, and those trucks are turned away. The D.E.P. and the Berks County Conservation District closely monitor all activities at the landfill.
The next meeting of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee will be on September 20, 2012, at 6 p.m. at the office building off of Shiloh Road.
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