In The Loop

Welcome to the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority's Blog

Covanta and LCSWMA Extend Partnership

January 08, 2018 ·

New 15-year operating agreement reached for the Lancaster and Harrisburg Energy-from-Waste facilities

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) and Covanta (NYSE: CVA), based in Morristown, NJ, announced today a new agreement for the operation and maintenance of LCSWMA’s two Energy-from-Waste facilities: the Lancaster Waste-to-Energy (WTE) Facility, located in Bainbridge, PA, and the Susquehanna Resource Management Complex (SRMC), located in Harrisburg, PA. Combined, these two facilities process around 700,000 tons of waste annually. The new improved agreement, which was finalized at the end of 2017, extends a successful long-term collaboration between LCSWMA and Covanta through 2032.

“LCSWMA is proud to continue working with such an experienced and industry-leading company like Covanta,” says Jim Warner, CEO for LCSWMA. “Waste-to-Energy has been a critical component of LCSWMA’s integrated system that minimizes landfill consumption and generates renewable energy for our community. Covanta has been a vital partner in helping us achieve that goal with great success. This enhanced partnership will help LCSWMA continue offering cost-effective, sustainable waste management services to the residents and businesses we serve.”

LCSWMA retained Covanta’s expertise to design, build and operate the Lancaster WTE Facility. The facility, which Covanta has operated since 1991, serves the sustainable waste management needs of Lancaster County, processing 1,200 tons of municipal solid waste per day to produce enough renewable energy to power 30,000 homes continuously.

The SRMC, serves Dauphin County and the City of Harrisburg by processing up to 800 tons of municipal solid waste per day and generating approximately 23 megawatts of renewable energy that powers state capitol buildings in Harrisburg, PA.

Covanta has operated the SRMC since 2007 and was critical in the turnaround of the facility, completing upgrades that allowed the facility to operate in a reliable and environmentally-sound manner. LCSWMA purchased the SRMC in 2013 from the City of Harrisburg and made significant investments and capital improvements to further enhance facility performance, along with improving customer service and aesthetics of the site.

“We are very pleased to continue our mutually-beneficial partnership with LCSWMA,” said Joey Neuhoff, vice president and general manager of Covanta’s mid-Atlantic region. “LCSWMA has created a world-class integrated waste management system and we are proud of our contributions to that success. We look forward to our continued collaboration over the next 15 years.”

The new agreement stipulates investments and upgrades to the systems at both Energy-from-Waste facilities to ensure continued safe and reliable waste processing and energy production for many years to come.

LCSWMA’s integrated system and Covanta have won numerous awards over the years, including: the Gold Excellence Award in WTE from the Solid Waste Association of North America and Top Plant honors from Power Magazine for the turnaround of the SRMC. The two facilities are also recognized as Star worksites in the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). VPP Star status is the highest honor given to worksites with comprehensive, successful safety and health management systems.

Tags: In The News · SRMC · Waste-to-Energy

LCSWMA’s ExtraGive Campaign Featured in Lancaster Chamber’s Thriving Magazine

December 18, 2017 ·

Published in the Fall/Winter Edition of Thriving Magazine

STRENGTHENING ENGAGEMENT FROM THE OUTSIDE IN: COMMUNITY OUTREACH HELPS COMPANIES CONNECT WITH EMPLOYEES

By Alison Van Harskamp
Director, Corporate Communications and Public Relations, Armstrong Flooring

An engaged workforce. A stronger community. Both can fuel successful businesses — and luckily, they can go hand in hand.

Companies recognize that highly engaged employees have a positive impact on workplace morale, employee retention and the bottom line.

Ranking high on the list of effective ways to keep employees engaged over the long term is a company’s involvement in community giving. This makes sense, because for many of us there’s no greater feeling than knowing you’re making a difference where you live and work. Fortunately, Lancaster County has a bounty of philanthropic events that can help companies to connect with the community and, at the same time, their employees.

One event that seems to captivate the county each November is the Extraordinary Give (“the ExtraGive”), Lancaster’s largest day of individual giving, raising more than $20 million since 2012. “We have a tremendous amount of philanthropic energy in our community,” said Tracy Cutler, executive vice president, Lancaster County Community Foundation, which organizes and presents the event. “And there are several companies who are using that energy as a catalyst to engage and support their employees as they desire to make a difference in the community.”

For companies like Rhoads Energy, the ExtraGive is an opportunity to celebrate a long tradition of community involvement. “We’re celebrating our 100th anniversary this year, so our involvement in events like the Extraordinary Give helps to reinforce a core value that’s existed from the time Jerome Rhoads founded our company in 1917, which is giving back to our community,” said Jennifer Goldbach, Rhoads Energy vice president of business development.

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) uses the ExtraGive to help reinforce shared values. “At LCSWMA, we want our employees to be ‘Safe, Well and Happy’,” explained Kathryn Sandoe, LCSWMA Chief Communications Officer. “Part of being ‘Happy’ is giving individuals an opportunity to practice gratitude in their functional role and in their personal life. This event provides a wonderful occasion to accomplish that aim.”

It also provides an opportunity for employees to take the lead in supporting a culture of community involvement. LCSWMA runs an employee-powered campaign that includes peer influencers (“ExtraGive Champions”) at each of its four sites to gain buy-in, plan and promote activities and create buzz.

Likewise, an employee-run committee at Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT) drives the company’s participation in the ExtraGive and is responsible for a creative internal campaign to raise awareness. “Our employees put a lot of effort into our campaign, and it’s helped by the fact that Extraordinary Give is already a successful, well-known event on its own,” said Amanda Hershey, ACT Marketing Specialist. “We get to hitch an employee engagement effort to a wagon that already has a lot of momentum.”

Friendly competition between co-workers adds to the fun and heightens the ExtraGive’s campaign buzz. ACT sponsors a dollar-for-dollar match for the first $4,000 raised by its employees. “Since it’s a 24-hour event, people are actually waking up in the middle of the night to be one of the first to make a donation,” said Hershey.

LCSWMA’s campaign committee also organizes competitive challenges and prize incentives to create excitement and build momentum for the ExtraGive. “One of the most rewarding thing is that our employees feel so engaged in the process,” said Sandoe. “They come up with the ideas, the activities, the prizes. It feels like their campaign, because it really is!”

In addition to giving their treasure, employees are also eager to give their time to making Lancaster’s largest day of fundraising a success. On the day of the ExtraGive, Rhoads Energy employees are present at each stop of the “Givingmobile” and also host a Happy Hour of giving, complete with several community giving stations, at the Federal Taphouse in downtown Lancaster.

Meanwhile, dedicated team members from Atomic Design are busy in the weeks and days leading up to the ExtraGive, brainstorming, designing, constructing and installing the eye-catching sets and staging for the ExtraGive’s big celebrations at the Lancaster Marriott. “Most of the projects we work on are out of this area, so many employees don’t get to actually see the fruits of their labor,” said Atomic Design Chief Operating Officer Lydia Henry. “In addition to the fundraising aspect, volunteering our time to the Extraordinary Give appealed to us because it gives our employees an opportunity to showcase their incredible talents locally and celebrate what they do as professionals with their families and friends.”

Companies that participate in this and other well-known philanthropic events often get questions like “Are we doing the ExtraGive again this year?” or positive comments on employee engagement surveys. There’s plenty of anecdotal feedback to convince all of the companies interviewed that their involvement helps create happier, more engaged employees.

LCSWMA’s Sandoe said, “It’s fun, it’s meaningful and it’s a really great way for our employees to help make Lancaster a wonderful place to live, work and recreate. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”

To read the entire issue, click here.

Tags: Community Events · Faces of LCSWMA · In The News

Christmas Tree Recycling

December 14, 2017 ·

Did you know you can recycle real Christmas trees to create beautiful things for the rest of the year? Some townships turn your tree into mulch for community parks! Click here to find a tree recycling location near you.

Tags: Recycling

LCSWMA Employees Give Extra!

November 21, 2017 ·

Congratulations Lancaster County for contributing $8.6 million to the ExtraGive! LCSWMA was proud to sponsor this amazing day of giving that helps our community thrive. And LCSWMA believes that when our community thrives, our employees thrive too.

So, in addition to sponsoring the ExtraGive, we also strive to foster a philanthropic culture at LCSWMA. That’s why we challenged employees to give extra – and they did! Ninety employees contributed a total of $19,245 during the ExtraGive this year!

How did they do it? Let’s just say there was no lack of fun… 

To start, we created a committee of 15 “ExtraGive Champions” from our four facilities, who planned an internal campain called “Gather to Give”.  This employee-powered initiative set two goals:

  1. Raise $15,500 (achieved $19,245!)
  2. 70 employee participants (achieved 90!)

LCSWMA offered incentives if we achieved these goals.

Prior to campaign launch, our ExtraGive Champions developed internal marketing materials to explain the purpose of the campaign, along with providing updates as the campaign progressed.

“Gather to Give” launched on October 23, with “Thanksgatherings” at each LCSWMA site. These lunch n’ learn sessions featured a Thanksgiving-themed lunch, where employees learned more about the impact of the ExtraGive on the Lancaster community and how our internal campaign would support this day of giving.

Employees could make a one-time donation or contribute through payroll deduction, which provided them the opportunity to give more as their dollars could be stretched throughout the year.

An “Early Bird Special” during the week of November 6th encouraged employees to commit to giving early for a chance to win one of two prizes.

November 13th kicked-off ExtraGive week with a LCSWMA basket competition. Our various departments and sites teamed up to create baskets of goodies, with such themes as pet lovers, the handy man, couples needing a date night, and more. Employees received raffle tickets based on their donation amount, and the baskets were raffled-off on November 17.

On the day of the ExtraGive, our champions made one more big push for donations, setting up pledge stations at each site.

The efforts of LCSWMA’s ExtraGive Champions and the generosity of employees made the Gather to Give campaign a success for LCSWMA and our community, as we far surpassed both goals. Waste is definitely a resource that gives back!

We hope this information inspires other organizations to create their own employee campaigns. 

 

Tags: Community Events · Faces of LCSWMA

ACT 101 Update

November 20, 2017 ·

This is the first article in an educational series, highlighting waste industry news.

SUMMARY:
Language in PA House Bill 118 effectively removed the sunset date from the $2 recycling fee and maintains the Recycling Fund established in Act 101. The bill (now Act 40 of 2017) was signed into law by Governor Wolf on October 30, 2017.

What does this mean and why is it important for our community’s recycling efforts?

Let’s start from the beginning.


Statewide recycling in Pennsylvania began in 1988 with the Municipal Waste Planning Recycling and Waste Reduction Act (Act 101) that requires larger municipalities (based on population) to recycle. The Act established a $2-per-ton fee on all waste disposed at municipal waste landfills and waste-to-energy facilities. The fees are placed into a Recycling Fund, from which the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) distributes grant money for local collection programs, public education, materials processing and composting facilities, equipment and technical training.

The Recycling Fund established in Act 101 was due to sunset January 1, 2020.

The hard work is seemingly done, why should community members care if the Recycling Fund ended?

Elimination of the fee, and the associated grant programs it supported, would have significantly impacted recycling programs throughout the Commonwealth.  Here’s how…

Up to 70% of the Recycling Fund provides:

  • development and implementation of county and municipal recycling programs;

  • municipal recycling program performance grants;

  • studies to aid in the development of markets for recyclable materials, and studies to encourage and implement waste reduction strategies;

  • research and demonstration grants for the beneficial use of solid waste;

  • and more.

Up to 30% of the Recycling fund is allotted to DEP for:

  • public information and public education;

  • municipal and county technical assistance programs for litter control, recycling and waste reduction;

  • research and demonstration projects;

  • county municipal waste management planning grants;

  • and more.

Had the Recycling Fund sunset, it would have been felt hard by Lancaster County’s 47 municipal recycling programs. It would have meant no funds for new or existing recycling programs that helped Lancaster County achieve a 44% recycling rate in 2016. But numerous organizations and associations advocated for the Recycling Fund to continue, and those efforts paid off with the passage of House Bill 118.

We hope this information helps you “rethink” waste and its impact on our daily lives including how important programs are funded. As citizens of this earth, we have a responsibility to manage it conscientiously and maximize its potential for a positive impact. 

  

Tags: In The News · Recycling

LCSWMA Ready to Defend DEP Permit to Vertically Expand Landfill

September 08, 2017 ·

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) announced it will vigorously defend its permit issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to vertically expand the Frey Farm Landfill in Conestoga. 

LCSWMA’s landfill serves a vital role in Lancaster County’s Integrated System by protecting the safety, health and welfare of the community through environmentally-safe solid waste disposal.  The $56M vertical expansion project will maximize LCSWMA’s current landfill site by using mechanically stabilized earthen berms.  This design limits the height increase to just 50 feet and lateral expansion to only 9-acres.  The result is 6.4 million cubic yards of capacity, enough to serve Lancaster County for the next 18-20 years.  This project also protects local resources by eliminating the need to acquire new land for landfilling purposes.

A small opposition group filed an appeal of the permit to the Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) on August 24th.  In their appeal, appellants reiterate previous objections raised during the 2.5-year review process with DEP.  These complaints were extensively vetted by DEP, which ultimately determined the public benefits of this project clearly outweigh the potential harms and approved LCSWMA’s permit application.

“LCSWMA is prepared and well-positioned to defend this permit, and will do so jointly with DEP,” says Jim Warner, LCSWMA’s CEO.  “We have every confidence the EHB will affirm DEP’s decision.”

A prominent figure in the opposition group is Jeffrey Koons, a NYC resident and wealthy artist who owns vacation property in York County, directly across from the landfill.  Koons is listed in the appeal under the cover of “Stone Fence Acres, LP” and “Farmland Preservation, LP”.  Through his representing counsel, Koons has expressed displeasure with the aesthetic view of the landfill. 


“It’s unfortunate that Jeffrey Koons considers the view from his property more important than the disposal needs of over 500,000 Lancaster County residents,” says Warner.  “Due to Koons’ visual preference, defending our permit will cost upwards of $1 million of public money.”

LCSWMA underscores the importance of this vertical expansion permit for continuation for Lancaster County’s cost-effective and award-winning Integrated System.  Revocation of the permit would put the entire system, and future of waste management in Lancaster County, at risk.  Such a development could mean a financial impact of $10 million annually, translating into a 30% increase in refuse disposal fees.

While LCSWMA’s Integrated System effectively diverts 96-98% of Lancaster County’s municipal solid waste from the landfill each year, the reality is that not all waste can be reused, recycled or combusted for energy and must be disposed in an environmentally-safe manner.

LCSWMA invested over a decade in planning for a vertical expansion of the Frey Farm Landfill, including extensive environmental and engineering analyses.  The goal was to design a project that provides this much-needed public service (i.e., future landfill capacity), while minimizing its environmental, social and aesthetic impacts. 

LCSWMA likewise attained necessary approvals from the host municipality of Manor Township, including receiving support for the project from the Board of Supervisors.  The Frey Farm Landfill also holds a stellar environmental record, as it’s the only municipal landfill in PA to not receive a violation from DEP in 25 years.

The EHB process begins in October 2017, and could last up to two years.  In the coming weeks, LCSWMA’s Board of Directors will determine whether to begin construction amid the appeal.  Originally, construction was slated to begin this fall, to be ready for waste placement in 2019 when the current landfill capacity ends.

Tags: Frey Farm Landfill

FREE Home Compost Workshops This Fall!

August 31, 2017 ·

LCSWMA is partnering with municipalities, institutions, community organizations and Penn State Master Gardeners of Lancaster County to conduct home compost workshops where residents will learn how to recycle organic waste from their kitchens and gardens instead of putting it in the trash. Composting is an excellent way to recycle vegetable scraps, grass clippings, leaves, and other organic materials and turn them into a useful and valuable soil amendment.

Workshop attendees will also learn how to build effective, yet inexpensive home compost bins to meet their needs. Each household in attendance will receive a free kitchen scrap collection bucket and enter a raffle for a home compost bin courtesy of LCSWMA.

Lancaster County residents are invited to attend either of the home compost workshops scheduled. If required, residents should pre-register by no later than Friday at noon prior to the workshop they’ll be attending.

September 9 at the Borough of Columbia Yard Waste Facility located at 254 Blue Lane accessible from Route 441 (River Road), Columbia. In case of rain, the workshop will be held at the Columbia Borough Public Works Building located at 431 South Front Street, Columbia. The workshop is from 10:00 am to 11:30 am. No fee is required, but pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register or for more information, please contact Columbia Borough at (717) 684-2467 Ext. 7317 or email parmold@columbiapa.net.

October 14 at the Millport Conservancy located at 737 East Millport Road, Lititz. The workshop is from 10:00 am to 11:30 am. No fee is required, but pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register or for more information, please contact the Warwick Township Recycling Coordinator at (717) 626-8900 or email BKreider@warwicktownship.org.

Tags:

LCSWMA Commissions Steam to Perdue AgriBusiness for Soybean Processing Facility

August 08, 2017 ·

Today, LCSWMA began commissioning steam to Perdue AgriBusiness in preparation for the targeted September 2017 start-up of their Soybean Processing Facility adjacent to the Lancaster Waste-to-Energy (WTE) Facility in Conoy Township. LCSWMA sold the contiguous 57-acre tract of land to Perdue in 2016 for $2.48 million in 2016.

The Perdue Soybean Processing Facility includes two main components:

(1) A grain elevator to receive, dry, store, and ship soybeans grown and harvested throughout the region.

(2) The processing plant to process roughly 20 million bushels of soybeans per year and produce soybean meal, soybean hulls, and soybean oil.

LCSWMA will provide around 15% of the steam from the Lancaster WTE Facility (up to 57,000 pounds/hour), which will reduce the environmental footprint of the Perdue Soybean Processing Facility and lower its emissions by avoiding the need to use fossil fuels. Using steam from the Lancaster WTE Facility, instead of creating steam from natural gas or fossil fuels, avoids 20,000-30,000 metric tons of CO2 annually for this project. LCSWMA will also provide process water (up to 130,000 gallons/day or 47 million gallons/annually) from the Lancaster WTE Facility, eliminating the need to use water from the Susquehanna River for the Perdue Soybean Processing Facility. The process water is returned to the Lancaster WTE Facility, where it is treated and recycled yet again in a closed-loop, zero discharge system.

In May 2016, Perdue received its air permit from PA-DEP for the Soybean Processing Facility and began groundwork and construction on the project. LCSWMA spent the latter half of the year focused on engineering design for the necessary steam modifications to the Lancaster WTE Facility, in order to integrate the two facilities. The partners anticipate full commencement of operations at the site to occur in fall 2017.


Tags: In The News · Waste-to-Energy

LCSWMA Receives DEP Approval to Vertically Expand the Frey Farm Landfill

July 28, 2017 ·

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) announced it received final approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on its application for a major permit modification to vertically expand the Frey Farm Landfill.

While LCSWMA’s Integrated System effectively diverts 96-98% of Lancaster County’s municipal solid waste from the landfill each year, the reality is that not all waste can be reused, recycled or combusted for energy and must be disposed in an environmentally-safe manner. Thus, the Frey Farm Landfill, located in Conestoga, serves an important role in the Integrated System by protecting the safety, health and welfare of the community. The Frey Farm Landfill is the only municipal landfill in PA to not receive a violation from DEP in 25 years.

The $56M vertical expansion project will maximize LCSWMA’s current landfill site by using mechanically stabilized earthen berms. This design limits the height increase to just 50 feet and lateral expansion to only 9-acres. The result is 6.4 million cubic yards of capacity, which translates to 18-20 years of environmentally-safe disposal for Lancaster County. This project also protects local resources by eliminating the need to acquire new land for landfilling purposes.

Leading to this milestone, LCSWMA invested over a decade in planning for a vertical expansion of the Frey Farm Landfill, including extensive environmental and engineering analyses. The goal was to design a project that provides this much-needed public service (i.e., future landfill capacity), while minimizing its environmental, social and aesthetic impacts.

Through an extensive and comprehensive permit review, DEP determined the public benefits of this project clearly outweigh the known and potential harms. Additionally, DEP undertook an intensive technical review process to affirm the stability of the site and the appropriateness of the project design.

“LCSWMA commends DEP for its diligence in thoroughly vetting the permit application, and for its discernment in determining this project responsibly provides for the future needs of the community,” says Jim Warner, LCSWMA’s CEO. “Receiving DEP approval for the vertical expansion project was a critical step to ensure LCSWMA can continue providing Lancaster County with cost-effective waste management services.”

The modified permit contains numerous conditions to protect the environment and community, including ongoing monitoring of the site and surrounding environment. Additionally, LCSWMA committed to developing a visual landscape synthesis plan to aesthetically blend the Frey Farm Landfill into the surrounding scenery over time.

Construction is slated to begin this fall, to be ready for waste placement by spring 2019.

Tags: Frey Farm Landfill · In The News

Celebrate Clean Water

June 01, 2017 ·

Join LCSWMA and other conservation-minded organizations during the inaugural Lancaster Water Week, happening June 3-10. During this week-long celebration of clean water, hosted by the Lancaster Conservancy, learn how Lancaster County's 1,500 miles of streams drive economic opportunity, and how protecting these waters benefits us all.

Fourteen special events are planned for Water Week, including three with LCSWMA.

Save-the-date, and enjoy free educational, family-friendly programming:

Saturday, June 3National Trails Day Celebration
Lace up your hiking boots or grab your bicycle and hit the Northwest Lancaster County River Trail for National Trails Day, happening Saturday, June 3 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free family-friendly activities will take place at three event hubs - Columbia Crossing, Mussleman-Vesta and East Donegal Riverfront Park. Visit LCSWMA's event booth at Columbia Crossing to learn how we make waste a resource and enjoy an interactive activity for kids.

Wednesday, June 7Watershed Expo
Celebrate and learn about our local watersheds at the Chiques Creek Watershed Alliance's Watershed Expo, happening Wednesday, June 7 from 6 - 8 p.m. at the Manheim Farm Show Complex. LCSWMA will host a Home Compost Workshop during the event. Stay for FREE ice cream, live music and interactive exhibits about the importance of clean water.

Saturday, June 10: Make-and-Take Workshop
Join LCSWMA on Saturday, June 10 for a Make-and-Take Workshop where participants will create their own earth-friendly cleaning products. The Make-and-Take Workshop focuses on the importance of proper household hazardous waste disposal, in helping protect our water, and offers options for environmentally-friendly alternatives. This event will take place from 9 - 10 a.m. in LCSWMA's Training Room at the Transfer Station Complex located at 1299 Harrisburg Pike, Lancaster. Registration is required. Sign up here.

And for those outside of the area, visit http://nationaltrailsday.americanhiking.org/ for suggestions on how you can get involved in your community.

Tags: Community Events · Community Recreation · Northwest Lancaster County River Trail · Trail Development · Wildlife