Press Release: COMMUNITY GROUPS CHALLENGE EIS FOR PROPOSED KAHULUI SLUDGE FARM AND POWER PLANT

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Immediate Release: May 31, 2018

Contact: Lance D. Collins (808) 243-9292 lawyer@maui.net

 

COMMUNITY GROUPS CHALLENGE EIS
FOR PROPOSED KAHULUI SLUDGE FARM AND POWER PLANT

 

KAHULUI, MAUI – The Sierra Club Maui Group and Maui Tomorrow are challenging Maui County and Anaergia Services’ proposed sludge farm and power plant along the Kahului shoreline by filing a lawsuit in Maui’s Environmental Court today. The groups are represented by attorney Lance D. Collins.

The groups challenge the County Environmental Management Director’s approval of an environmental impact statement (EIS) for Anaergia’s proposed sludge processing, energy generation, and biocrop growing/burning project. Under the proposal, sludge from wastewater treatment facilities at Kīhei, Lahaina, and the Wailuku-Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility
(Kahului Wastewater Facility) would be trucked to a site at the Kahului Wastewater Facility and dried using methane gas byproducts of the anaerobic digestion of “biocrops” grown on 500 acres of former sugar cane lands, with additional energy from a propane burner. This process is also proposed to generate electricity for the Kahului Wastewater Facility.

The project was first proposed through a county procurement. Anaergia was the sole bidder in that process. Anaergia also currently holds a County waste-to energy landfill gas contract, which an independent auditor determined will cost the County $35 million more than anticipated when procured. The community groups challenge Anaergia’s preparation of the EIS, as opposed to the County, for reasons including the County’s unwritten policy of imposing less strict oversight over projects for which they have outside entities prepare an EIS.

The groups also challenged the failure to adequately consider sea level rise predictions. Maui Tomorrow Executive Director, Albert Perez commented, “Taxpayers should not be burdened with underwriting complicated science experiments that will only cost taxpayers more money and likely do nothing to protect the environment. Maui County needs to move forward, not backward, by getting the Kahului treatment facility out of the tsunami zone and away from sea level rise.”

The Kahului Wastewater Facility’s precarious location was specifically called out in the State’s Sea Level Rise Adaptation Report, published in December 2017. “Sierra Club is very much in favor of increasing the use of renewable energy, including in microgrids for specific purposes,” said Rob Weltman, president of Sierra Club Maui Group. “However, it must be done in a responsible way which does not result in new threats to our sensitive shoreline environment.”

The proposal will result in nearly 3,130 tons per year of dried sludge and nearly 30,000 tons per year of biocrop byproduct “digestate,” but the EIS does not indicate how the County will dispose of them.

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Submit Comments on the Anaergia MANA Draft EIS

(Read about this issue in our previous post here  and in a Maui News article about the recently held public meeting.)

Anaergia/MANA has submitted a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to the county, which must be approved in a final form before the project can move forward.

The deadline to comment on this Draft EIS is Tuesday, February 6, 2018.

We urge Sierra Club Maui members and supporters to submit comments on the Draft EIS.

At first glance, the project might look eco-conscious and economically viable – but when you delve into the details, it becomes very clear this project has not been properly vetted. 

Here is the announcement of the Draft EIS (PDF) in the December 23, 2017 OEQCʻs The Environmental Notice.

The Draft EIS is available for download here (large PD).

 

Comments should be emailed to:

 

Anaergia’s MANA Project Questioned in The Maui News

Original Article at: http://www.mauinews.com/news/local-news/2018/01/sewage-plant-project-would-end-landfill-green-waste-composting/

 

Sewage plant project would end landfill green waste composting

Green waste is dumped off at EKO System's drop-off at the Central Maui Landfill in this photo taken in February 2016. A proposed renewable energy project at the Wailuku-Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility would put the 23-year-old composting facility out of business, diverting the sewage sludge that is a necessary component in EKO's composing process. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

Green waste is dumped off at EKO System’s drop-off at the Central Maui Landfill in this photo taken in February 2016. A proposed renewable energy project at the Wailuku-Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility would put the 23-year-old composting facility out of business, diverting the sewage sludge that is a necessary component in EKO’s composing process. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

KAHULUI — Maui EKO Systems, which has processed the island’s green waste and county sewage sludge into compost for nearly 23 years, could be put out of business as early as the end of next year because of a proposed renewable energy project at the Wailuku-Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility.

The closure stands as one future impact among several other potential problems residents voiced during a community meeting focused on the project led by Maui All Natural Alternative, an Anaergia Services company, on Wednesday at Kahului Elementary School.

“I think we left the meeting with more questions than answers,” Sierra Club Maui coordinator Adriane Raff Corwin said Thursday. “They didn’t give many specifics at all, so we’ll be following up. But I think last night’s meeting illustrated the community has a huge amount of concerns and questions that aren’t being answered.”

Officials with the energy company and county Department of Environmental Management provided a brief presentation and answered questions during their first public meeting on the project. An environmental impact statement is nearly completed, and a final draft is expected later this year.

“No project I’ve ever seen in my 27 years with the county is perfect, but I think this consists of everything we’re looking for,” Environmental Management Department Director Stewart Stant told the crowd of about 40 people.

Stewart Stant

Stewart Stant

The project calls for installation of an anaerobic digester to produce methane gas from energy crops grown on former Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. lands. The natural gas would be refined on-site and fuel a combined heat-and-power engine to generate electricity for the sewage treatment plant.

Waste heat from the plant’s engine would dry biosolids, or digested sewage sludge, produced by the plant. The anaerobic digester would be located on the west side of an existing aerobic blower building.

The treatment plant is next to the ocean on Amala Place in Kahului. The Kanaha Pond Wildlife Sanctuary is inland of the sewage treatment plant, and Kanaha Beach Park and Kahului Airport are located to the east.

Anaergia and county officials said the renewable energy project would provide 4.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year and dry the county’s 24,000 tons of biosolids annually. The biosolids would be treated and returned to the county to possibly be used as fertilizer for parks, including the Waiehu Municipal Golf Course.

The energy company would develop the project at no upfront construction cost to the county and charge the county 29 cents kWh as part of a 20-year contract.

Residents and environmental watchdog groups took issue with the charge per kilowatt hour, which is more than double what Maui Electric Co. pays wind farms and for fossil-fuel generated power.

Doug McLeod, vice president of the Maui Tomorrow Foundation, said the price is high because the county advertised the project as “gas turbine to dry sludge,” which solicited just one bid from Anaergia. He added that there seemed to be “a lot of very strange aspects” in the deal that he believed was not the most cost-effective for taxpayers or the safest for the environment.

“When you look at this price 29 cents that is well more than double the current market price for solar power,” McLeod said Thursday. “It would seem to be a lot more than other renewable options, but we don’t know that because the county didn’t ask” for alternatives.

McLeod, who also runs an energy consulting firm and is the former county energy commissioner, said many solar companies did not bother to meet with the county to discuss the project because of the clear restrictive language that favored Anaergia. He believed only Pacific Biodiesel showed interest.

Raff Corwin also questioned why the county did not seek separate solutions for disposing of biosolids and producing energy. She wondered why the treatment plant proposal needed to combine both aspects into one and was concerned about air quality and odors produced by the plant.

“I still haven’t gotten a clear answer as to why these two needs had to be combined,” she said. “It sounds like we’re going to have a huge amount of dry sludge and green waste no longer turned into composting material.”

In 2014, Anaergia, a California-based company, signed a separate 20-year contract with Mayor Alan Arakawa’s administration to build a waste conversion facility at the Central Maui Landfill.

Anaergia and county officials acknowledged that the wastewater treatment plant waste-to-energy project would be related to the landfill project because it would provide dried sludge for the landfill waste conversion project. But they maintained the contracts for the projects were separate.

McLeod said he is skeptical of the landfill waste-conversion facility, which has yet to have an EIS preparation notice published. Anaergia had previously tried to build an energy plant using wastewater in 2015 but was shot down by the Public Utilities Commission.

“These contracts people think they’re free with minimal upfront cost, but they will cost the county money in the end,” McLeod said. “There’s obviously a lost opportunity.”

As for EKO, the company’s current contract with the county ends in June, but the two sides will likely extend until the end of 2019, plant manager Rubens Fonseca said Thursday. The company has 20 workers.

The composting operation was established to extend the life of the landfill by diverting green waste and sludge.

“I hate to see this product that has been offered to landscapers and farmers here almost 23 years going to be gone,” he said.

* Chris Sugidono can be reached at csugidono@maui news.com.

Raise Your Voice Against Anaergia/MANA’s Digester Facility

Maui County is contracting w/ Anaergia Services, LLC via its local Maui company MANA, LLC (Maui All Natural Alternatives) to build a waste digester power plant.

BUT TO MAKE IT WORK, ANAERGIA NEEDS TO:

  1.  Get water from A&B to –
  2. Grow sorghum crops on A&B land to –
  3. Harvest the crops to –
  4. Bring the crops to Kahului to –
  5. Put in their not-yet-built $20 million waste digester plant to –
  6. Create biogas to power the Wailuku-Kahului Reclamation Facility (WKWWRF) next to it.

THEN: Anaergia will use the heat from the digester to dry all of Maui’s human sludge (excrement) and make it into fertilizer pellets to sell back to Maui residents. And the plant will  be located in the tsunami evacuation zone.

Sierra Club Maui submitted comments on this project, back in late 2016 when the County Council’s Infrastructure and Environmental Management Committee (IEM) was considering a resolution authorizing a lease to Anaergia for this facility. Then, very quickly, the lease resolution was pinched out of the IEM Committee by Council member Don Couch and Chair Mike White, and brought before the full Council in the last meeting of 2016, where the lease was approved without further discussion. In January 2017, some new council members were sworn into office who likely would have put up a fight against rubber stamping this lease – so the actions in December 2016 ensured the new council members couldn’t stop the project.

Flash forward to January 2018. Anaergia/MANA has submitted a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to the county, which must be approved before the project can move forward, and they are holding a public meeting on Wednesday, January 24th for the public to learn about the project.

We urge Sierra Club Maui members and supporters to attend this meeting and to voice concern with this project.

At first glance, the project might look eco-conscious and economically viable – but when you delve into the details, it becomes very clear this project is, in a nut shell, going to lead to a lot of money spent for little-to-probably no improvement, while getting in the way of real improvement in the county’s usage of renewable energy and fiscal responsibility.

There are more efficient, safer, and CHEAPER ways to power the Wailuku-Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility (WKWWRF) with renewable energy, like:

  1. Use solar power and battery storage (there was a much more affordable project planned with Haleakala Solar that was unceremoniously cancelled by the county, after which the Anaergia project was announced)***
  2. Harness biogas from existing compost and trash on the island (Maui currently has no industrial compost heap, food goes into the trash stream)

***The cost of electrical generation for the cancelled solar PV project with Haleakala Solar at WKWWTF would have provided energy at about half the cost of Anaergia’s project. The solar PV project was cancelled by former Dept. of Environmental Management Director Kyle Ginoza after Haleakala Solar had already done $75,000 in design work. At that time, solar energy would have cost about 15.9 cents/kwh for the first year, compared with Anaergia’s 29 cents/kwh. And since then, MECO’s latest Purchase Power Agreement for solar has dropped to 11.7 cents/kwh (with cost of storage factored in, the final price would be higher, but it would still cost much less than 29 cents/kwh).

 

Here are our concerns that we gave to the Council in 2016 and that are still very valid today:

  1. Cost: Initially, Maui County would pay for electricity at a rate close to that of today’s oil-based electricity from MECO, but with a contracted rate increase of 2.2% per year for twenty years. Without a doubt, within five or ten years the county will be kicking itself for committing to such an exorbitant price for electricity as the cost of renewable energy continues to fall (and solar is already well below even the starting price). At face value, the proposal may sound economical because Anaergia and its subsidiary assume the cost of building the power plant. However, there is no reason to consider Anaergia to be a charitable organization. Its calculation of the charges to Maui County are based on recouping the $20M construction costs, costs for permitting, costs for running the plant for 20 years (including energy crops), and profits. Rather than a great deal, this can be considered a loan at very high interest to the county. If the project made sense for other reasons, it would be more cost-efficient to issue a bond or seek grants and finance it without contracting Anaergia.
  2. Location: There was agreement at a 2016 hearing, including by Director Stewart Stant, that the location which would host the power plant, being at sea level and in a tsunami zone, is a poor choice. The county has been thinking about moving the WKWRF inland. Director Stant said it is more urgent to move the Wailuku Pumping Station, which supplies waste to WKWRF (Wailuku Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility), than to move WKWRF itself. However, one does not exclude the other. Adding a power plant to the existing WKWRF means, 1) it will be much more difficult to move WKWRF, and 2) it canʻt be moved until 20 years after the power plant is online (which itself is likely years away).
  3. Green Waste Disposal Costs: Currently, EKO collects and combines green waste with sludge to produce compost, which it then sells. Removing the lucrative sludge element from the county’s contract with EKO may cause EKO to terminate its remaining green waste contract, as green waste alone has very little resale value. The county would need to contract with a new entity that will collect only green waste; this entity will likely charge a much higher rate per ton because the new entity will need to apply for permits, as well as provide its own location and industrial equipment because EKO’s current location may become a landfill site; with the resale value of green waste so low, the entity will need to charge sky high prices to make a profit. We urge you to pay close attention to the timeline of when EKO’s contract may terminate and when the county could feasibly have a replacement green waste collection entity online. By state law, green waste is not allowed in the landfill, so the county cannot throw away green waste while waiting for a new composting program to come online. [In news articles like this one, county officials claims that the MANA project will bring down costs, but they always fail to mention that the reason why EKO costs are high is because the county wouldn’t give EKO a contract that would last more than 2 years.]
  4. Alternatives: Director Stant said that the reason for proposing the electricity generating plant for the WKWRF instead of the Kihei Wastewater Reclamation Facility is that the Kihei facility already has an excess of solar power during the day but has no way to store the power for use in the evening and at night. A much more cost-efficient investment would be to add battery storage to the Kihei facility. Combining solar and storage at Kihei could be a pilot project which could then be replicated at the other facilities.
  5. Community input: County’s Corporation Counsel said there is no room for public input during contract negotiation for services (which she said is 95% done). However, collecting public information and input only after a contract is finalized is an expensive and cumbersome model which generally leads to community dissatisfaction.

 

These were our concerns regarding the Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice, which are still very relevant for the Draft EIS:

  1. Conflict of Interest: Currently, the county is both the proposing agency and the accepting agency, which is a clear conflict of interest. Because the project will be built on state-owned land, we ask that a state agency be the accepting agency. This will resolve this conflict of interest.
  2. Third Party Consultation: We are concerned that this project’s FEIS has not been outsourced to a non-partial third party consultant. If MANA researches and writes its own FEIS, it is very unlikely that potentially serious concerns will be highlighted and examined and that feasible alternatives will be given fair consideration.
  3. Local knowledge: We are concerned that because no local expert consultants have been hired to assess all potential environmental and cultural impacts (especially on the local bird populations in the Kanahā Wildlife Sanctuary) that the FEIS will be severely lacking in important local expertise. We would like to see local avian experts brought on board to analyze this project.
  4. Tsunami Zone: We are very worried about not only placing more expensive long-term infrastructure in the tsunami zone but also the effects it may have on the environment if a tsunami or extreme flooding event happens. If a catastrophe occurs, how will MANA mitigate the risk of waste, flammable gas, and other toxic emissions escaping from the facility into the surrounding industrial and residential areas?
  5. MECO: How will the county negotiate with MECO to take the WKWWRF off its grid? What might be the exit costs of taking the facility off the grid?
  6. Energy Analysis: For the “Identification of Alternatives,” we would like independent energy and waste consultants who have no connection to MANA to create a more robust list of potential alternatives and analysis of their pros and cons.
  7. Carbon and methane footprint: While the facility will create energy from renewable resources, we have doubts as to whether it will actually reduce our carbon and methane footprint. We would like the FEIS to contain a complete analysis of the full carbon and methane footprint of the facility, as well as a listing of any VOC emissions that may occur.

BNL Landfill Trash Proposal

2 Executive Summary

2.1 Proposed IWCEP Solution

BNL Clean Energy proposes, as a core element to the solution to the County of
Maui’s IWCEP RFP, our new-generation power system technology as part of an
integrated waste management system.

2.2 Overview of BNL Technology

The technology we propose is the result of many years of product research and
development, and has resulted in a series of applications for, and receipt of,
patents covering the key innovations inherent in our technology.
By going “back to basics”, we have engineered a Closed Loop Thermo-
Chemical Process (CLTCP) that allows us to take a wide range of source
feedstuffs and return a wide range of useful byproducts.

A key point of our CLTCP technology is that, by definition, it is closed-loop hence
there are no flues and no flue-gases being venting. Thus there is no emission of
greenhouse gases, and no emission of toxic materials into the environment.

2.3 Feedstuffs

These include:

* Municipal Solid Waste – of virtually any organic composition

* Municipal Biosolids

* Biomass – trees, woodland/forest waste, bio power station residues

* Used tyres

* Used oils – of both fossil or vegetable origins

* Municipal Landfill Clearance (MSW cleared from existing landfill)

This list is not exhaustive, but rather to give an indication of the flexibility that can
be provided – “speciality” waste streams such as medical biohazard waste or
aged explosives can also be processed if required but with appropriate handling.
An important point to note is that the feedstuff mix does not have to be
homogeneous; it can be varied depending on what is available at a given time,
but conversely, a “recipe” can be derived that will generally dispose of feedstuffs
in predefined proportions to address local storage requirements or transport
issues.

2.4 Outputs

A number of options are available with our technology, and most are relevant in a
higher or lower degree to the RFP:

2.4.1 Primary Outputs

2.4.1.1 Synthetic Fuels

Depending on requirements, this can be diesel (typically commercial grade, for
truck and heavy plant operation), or kerosene (typically Jet A-1 for aviation use),
or light fuel oil (typically for maritime use).

Note that the type of fuel can be changed dynamically; i.e. to output a different
fuel type requires no physical changes to the equipment, only internal changes to
the chemistry being executed within the equipment.

2.4.1.2 Electric Power Generation

A further option is to use a proportion of energy from a system to generate
energy via a closed-cycle gas turbine (CCGT).

The key point to note is that a CCGT uses heat generated directly from the
system – i.e. it does not burn fuel as a “normal” gas turbine does – thus the zero-
emission status of the system is maintained.

2.4.1.3 Heating/Cooling

If required, a proportion of the thermal capacity of the system can be utilised for,
for example, district heating/cooling, ice manufacture, lumber kilns. This has
multiple benefits in terms of better utilisation by sharing infrastructure whilst
reducing demand on local electricity or other energy supply systems.

2.4.1.4 Desalinated Water

If required, desalination facilities can be supported by our systems.

2.4.1.5 Feedstock Drying

Low-grade heat is available for feedstock drying – for example, of sewage-related
semisolids – without loss of efficiency related to other outputs.

2.4.2 Secondary Outputs

A number of secondary outputs are generated to a varying degree that is entirely
dependent on the nature and/or mix of feedstuffs used.

2.4.2.1 Inert Ash

Due to the technology process, all ash generated is clean and can be used for
road construction, horticultural deployment or equivalent use.

2.4.2.2 Rare Earths and Heavy Metals Extraction

Unlike typical open-flue systems, these are captured with other non-organic
materials that are normally regarded as “problematic”. The containing wastes will
be barrelled and shipped to specialist metal recycling processors, most likely in
California

2.4.2.3 Sulphate, Nitrate, Phosphate Extraction

Sulphate, nitrate and phosphate derivatives are extracted for reuse as inorganic
fertilizers.

Read the entire proposal

County’s New Demands Cause Pacific Biodiesel Headaches

Pacific Biodiesel will continue collecting cooking oil and grease and continue supplying Biodiesel to Maui

Biodiesel refining operations to move to Big Island.

Here’s the press release issued by Pacific Biodiesel

America’s oldest biodiesel production plant has vacated the Central Maui  Landfill.  While continuing operations in the collection of used cooking oil and trap grease  waste, Pacific Biodiesel has closed its prototype facility.  Built in 1996, Pacific Biodiesel’s  Maui plant has been widely recognized as a pioneer in America’s biodiesel industry and was  the longest continually operating commercial biodiesel processing facility in the nation.  The  Maui operation has won awards from the Solid Waste Association of North American, the  National Recycling Coalition and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.

PacificBiodiesel

In December of 2013, Pacific Biodiesel was notified by the Maui County Department of  Environmental Management that continuing the current operation would require multiple  permits and extensive upgrades to comply with new County requirements.  According to  Robert King, President and Founder of the Company, “With just over two years left on our  contract, we couldn’t justify the costly site improvements that were required to meet the  County’s demands.”

Pacific Biodiesel will continue its full range of pumping and collection services on Maui and  Lanai as well as all its collection and processing operations on Oahu and Hawaii Island. Distribution of the Company’s biodiesel fuel will continue Statewide.

Prior to closing, the Puunene facility was providing pre-­?processing of waste oils for shipping  to its state-of-the-art biodiesel refinery in Hilo.  Now that the landfill facility has closed, the  cooking oil collected on Maui will be transferred directly to Big Island Biodiesel.  Grease trap  waste will continue to be processed on Oahu and Hawaii Island.

“Needless to say, it was difficult to shut down the plant after all these years but we found  ourselves with little recourse given the extent of the requirements to continue operations”,  said King. “We are committed to our community-­?based model and hope to return to Maui  with our industry-­?leading technology in the future.”

PacificBiodiesel

In the meantime, Pacific Biodiesel will continue to collect Maui County’s waste oils and  grease and distribute premium distilled biodiesel across the state.  To date, the Maui-­?based  company has diverted over 22 million gallons of waste from the community’s landfill,  greatly reduced the frequency of wastewater spills due to clogging by grease, and saved the  county’s restaurants a lot of money. Retired Pacific Biodiesel Operations Manager Larry Zolezzi estimates the savings to Maui  restaurants to be about $1 million, explaining, “The pumpers used to charge $1 per gallon to  pick up and dispose of used cooking oil (uco) and $2 per gallon for grease.  As the first  biodiesel company in the U.S., we changed the culture about what to do with uco and now  grease.”  Since 2010 Pacific Biodiesel Logistics has been collecting uco for free and offering  restaurants reduced rates for grease trap service.

Maui Landfill Integrated Waste Conversion Energy Project

On March 24, 2014 three Maui Sierra Club directors met with Anaergia, the company who was awarded the contract for integrated waste conversion (to gas/energy pellets/recyclables/etc) at the Maui landfill.  This is a report on what was Anaergia told us.

Maui Sierra Club is still gathering information and running numbers so there my be more information forthcoming after we speak with the existing recyclers and see how this contract will impact them and how their future plans impact the numbers.  There are already indications that the numbers discussed below don’t consider the diversion of greenwaste and fats, oils and grease and that we might be paying tipping shortfall penalties on this contract.  More to come as we research and do number crunching.

Anaergia Meeting.

In attendance Sam Millington, a consultant and Karl Bossert from Anaergia, Lucienne deNaie, Karen Chun and Daniel Grantham from Sierra Club, Irene Bowie of Maui Tomorrow

Karen started out by saying that the Sierra Club’s policy on trash is first to reduce (by reducing packaging, discouraging disposable items etc), then reuse and next (3rd down the line) recycle.  She also pointed out that the Sierra Club policy is that energy pellets from trash should be burned with the same pollution controls as would be required by the trash contained in them and that we are morally responsible for the pollution ensuing if they are not.

Criticism of the contract not having the details nailed down can be explained by the County issuing an RFP that combined what Karen said were normally two phases: A contract to write the parameters and details, followed by a contract to fulfill the requirements identified in the first phase.  Anaergia indicated that the county simply asked for a bid on (Karen’s words) dealing with the trash in return for tipping fees, leaving the details to be worked out by Anaergia.

This explains why the plan has changed during the trash forums and why the plan is still changing.  Anaergia is adapting the plan based on community feedback (such as need for compost).  Anaergia says that the plant basics (materials separation, digester and energy pellets) remain the same.

The County is currently producing about 185,000 tons/year of trash although when there is a lot of construction we’d expect that to be higher.  Anaergia’s contract requires tipping fees be paid on at least 125,000 tons/year of trash.  However the contract does address one of our concerns which was that if we were able to reduce the amount of trash via reduction of sources, that number can go down in the following way.  If the amount drops below 125k tons/yr, the county must pay the tipping fees on the shortfall.  However that 125k tons/yr number is reset on a sliding 3 year average.  Thus if the county only produced 120K in each of 3 years, the 4th year would see the minimum set to 120k and in that year, no penalty tipping shortfall payment would have to be paid.  (simplified this explanation because the 3 year average would affect year 2 and 3 also)

Karl pointed out that the 125k minimum is substantially below the current 185k of trash being produced so that there would have to be a massive reduction in trash for this to even be an issue.

Thus there is less pressure for Maui to take trash from outside the county, one hopes.

Karl said, though that they will most likely design the plant to accommodate 200k tons/yr or more so they can meet future increases.

Anaergia would build a facility next to the landfill on land they purchase.  Trash trucks would enter the materials separation facility.  Anaergia would separate out the recyclables.  Metal via magnets, plastics via floating, hand sorting or optical separation, paper and cardboard most likely by hand sorting.  The blue bag source separation idea is not dead but didn’t seem to be in contention.

Greenwaste woiuld go to the composting operation – most likely EkoCompost, if they arrive at an agreement.  Other recyclables would go to our existing recycling companies or be shipped.  Currently the county pays recycling companies like Aloha tipping fees but it was unclear what effect this new plan would have on them.

Sewage sludge and other wet, digestible material that didn’t go to compost would go to the digester which would produce natural gas –  a minimum of 500 million BTUs per day.  The remainder after creating the natural gas would be useful for compost provided it did not contain landfill leachate.  Lucienne pointed out that the county denies that leachate goes into the sewage processing plant but at other times they have admitted that it does go into the sewage processing plant (where ELSE would it be going????)

Karen asked Anaergia to make a point of knowing whether the sludge they have to process is contaminated with landfill leachate since this could introduce toxics that make it unsuitable for compost. There was also discussion that organic farmers cannot use compost that is made from sewage sludge.

Other noninert materials including the sludge after digestion would be dewatered (and the water used in the floating separation) and formed into energy pellets.

Karen pointed out that it is unrealistic to think that HC&S will take the pellets in lieu of coal since they are already being investigated for their emissions violations and it is extremely unlikely that parent company A&B which is primarily a developer would invest the funds needed to upgrade the emissions controls.

Lucienne pointed out the Sierra Club is trying to move “Beyond Coal” not “replace coal”.

Medical, hazardous and construction waste is not accepted by the County landfill.  Tires are not currently taken but Karl talked about a recycling process for any tires found in the waste stream.

Karen suggested that the Sierra Club work to get a program to encourage local businesses to process recyclables like shredded tires for playground materials, plastic lumber (like Aloha used to make) and glassphalt (as used to be made here) and that this would be advantageous to all.

Once Anaergia has recycled, created natural gas, created pellets and compost, the remainder which is estimated to be about 20% of the waste stream is sent to the landfill and Anaergia pays tipping fee to the County.  Thus most likely the Landfill will last 5 times as long because it will be taking in 1/5 the waste.

Right now only about 5% of the waste is recycled (by people bringing it to the centers)

Lucienne asked if we could have a system like Santa Cruz where reusable materials (concrete blocks, old bicycles, furniture etc) are separated out for people to take.  Currently this is prohibited at the County landfill.  Karl was understandably cautious but Karen pointed out that Anaergia could contract with an entity like Big Brothers Big Sisters to come and haul away these items for sale. Sam made a note to look into this.

Karl and Sam clarified that the state revenue bonds are different from the Superferry bonds in that they are sold by the company and guaranteed by the company’s revenue without the State or County being on the hook to make up any default. It is still an open question what the amount of the bonds will be.  The bill before the legislature has $50,000,000 as the number.

Karl said that they would probably sell the natural gas to Hawaii gas company to transport, pipe or whatever.   They couldn’t quantify how much energy pellets they’d produce as it depends on how much they can recycle and compost.

Dr. Andrew Bennek (PhD Chem E) is head of the company. Previously created Zenon that developed the sewage filtering process in use around the world and sold business to GE so Anaergia is privately held company.

People who hauled their trash to the landfill themselves would probably dump into county containers which would then go to Anaergia and be counted in the tipping fees the County pays them.

Anaergia said that top guys would most likely be initially from the mainland but that they intend to hire mostly local and train and promote local.  The contract runs 20 years.

Why not do source separation?  County claims it is too expensive to do 3 or 4 can collection

All the materials (recyclables, gas, pellets) are the responsibility of Anaergia to find takers/buyers for.  They suggested the Oahu coal plant might take energy pellets and that if not, that shipping to Asia or the Mainland is cheap because their ships deliver here and go back empty so the carbon footprint is lower than one would think and the rates are lower too.

Karl also made the point (when Karen expressed concern about energy pellet emissions) that replacing coal even with something that wasn’t 100% without emissions (Karen’s categorization) would stop the mountaintop removal and other problems associated with coal.

Karl says they are considering doing an EIS although he does not feel that there are any triggers in the project that would require one.  He’ll have a decision on this later.s a

UPDATE:  Anaergia has announced that it will do an EIS.  They have also provided this additional information:

(per Anaergia)

Fees ($ per ton) paid to MRRF (Anaergia) by the County of Maui

$28 green waste
$68 construction & demolition waste
$68 municipal solid waste
$76 sewage sludge
$100 FOG -County collected.  But reality here is that is PBT collects the overwhelming majority of FOG through the use of private haulers.

Also to note: the rate for processing recyclables is $100 per ton; however, it falls to $68 after 2250 tons/ in a given year.   In this case, recyclables are defined as those coming from drop boxes or curbside pickup.

Now going the other direction, so to speak, after processing, Anaergia estimates that approximately 15% to 20% of the material will be returned to Central Landfill.  This will be mostly consist of inert materials such as rocks, sand dirt, grit etc.

 

Fees MRRF/Anaergia pays to the County per ton of materials sent to the landfill

$71 residue
$68 unprocessible materials (e.g. appliances)

Note that there is no incentive for Anaergia to landfill any of the other materials listed above because they would be charged the same fee as MRRF receives from the County.  

For your second question, in terms of what may or may not be diverted before it gets to MRRF (thus impacting the conservative figure of 185K tons per year figure), it’s really hard to speculate what a private company may or may not do.  But if past history is a good predictor of future behavior, then the Waste Characterization study would indicate that it’s highly unlikely there will be any major reduction to a level near or below the 125K tons per year guaranteed minimum quantity in the contract.

For example, the County RFP lists the official figures for 2011 (tons per year) as:

  149,900 MSW
     25,400 Green Waste
    23,500 Sewage Sludge
     4,000 FOG
202,800 Total

Also, the Waste Characterization Study forecasts an amount of 148,479 tons of MSW for 2012 (compared to 149,900 of actual MSW in FY 2011). This combined with green waste, sewage sludge and County-collected FOG is once again well above the 125,000 threshold.  So, for example, even if 100% of the Green Waste or and County collected FOG got diverted, the total is still well above the 125,000 threshold. Finally, there doesn’t seem to be a breakout number for cardboard brought to landfill by private haulers–at least none that I could get a hold of in the County provided materials.