GROUNDBREAKING SET FOR MARTINSBURG WASTE-TO-SOLID-FUEL FACILITY

Herald Mail Media

MARTINSBURG, W. Va. — Entsorga West Virginia is expected to break ground in January on a waste-to-solid-fuel plant near Martinsburg that the company said will be the first in the United States to employ a mechanical biological treatment process.

The groundbreaking is set for Wednesday, Jan. 6, at 1 p.m. at 870 Grapevine Road, the Delaware-based company said Tuesday.

Entsorga West Virginia said 80 percent of the household garbage and other municipal solid waste received by the yet-to-be-built facility on a former Berkeley County landfill property will be used to produce a high-quality alternative fuel, minimizing landfill dependency and increasing recycling rates.

The fuel is expected to be used at the Essroc cement plant, which is a little more than two miles away near Martinsburg's south end, officials have said.

Clint Hogbin, chairman of the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority Chairman, said Tuesday that he was "thrilled on several levels" by the impending construction of the facility and that Entsorga will bring about a "resounding change" in how the Eastern Panhandle's waste is disposed.

Hogbin also said the facility will be a boon for the solid waste authority's litter-control and recycling programs.

Entsorga predicted that the "clean" technology it uses will change the future of waste disposal across the state and beyond.

The groundbreaking comes a little more than five years after the company's organization was filed in October 2010 with the West Virginia Secretary of State's office, but the project has had to clear multiple regulatory and financial hurdles since.

In the state's review process, Entsorga told the West Virginia Public Service Commission that the company’s equity would be owned by Entsorga Fin S.p.A, a Tortona, Italy-based company; Apple Valley Waste Services, the Eastern Panhandle’s largest residential waste hauler; and Raleigh, N.C.-based Chemtex International Inc.

The company said the facility would screen trash with a large rotary drum that would tear open trash bags to aerate the garbage.

Rapid composting would be caused by an air-circulation system. Moisture in the waste would be reduced by a combination of fresh and recirculated warm air, and the result would be a dry paper-like product.

The project obtained final permit approval from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection in October 2014.

It then received support this summer from the West Virginia Economic Development Authority for a $25 million bond issued through one of the state agency's private bonding programs.

Hogbin said construction of the facility will take about 18 months at the former landfill site, which the solid waste authority agreed to lease to the company in January 2014.

The 30-year deal for nearly 12 acres of the solid waste authority's property was projected to be worth more than $3.6 million last year. The authority is to be paid $70,000 the first year when construction begins.

A minor change to the lease agreement that was approved last month requires the solid waste authority to notify the lender if Entsorga defaults on the lease, which Hogbin said is full of "checks and balances."

The lease provides that there will be no off-site odors, litter, gas or noise, among a number of assurances.

The facility also will be limited to accepting 500 tons of garbage per day and 9,999 tons per month.

Hogbin said that trucks leaving the plant near the solid waste authority's office will be directed to use W. Va. 9 and restricted from turning right onto Grapevine Road toward Golf Course Road.

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