Lancaster Waste-to-Energy Facility
The largest portion of Lancaster County's solid waste is taken to the Waste-to-Energy (WTE) Facility, also sometimes referred to as the Resource Recovery Facility. Located in Conoy Township, Pennsylvania, the WTE Facility has the capacity to process up to 1,200 tons of waste per day. Waste is combusted in one of three boilers where the temperature exceeds 1800 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here's the best part: burning reduces solid waste volume by 90%. So for every ten truckloads of waste taken to the WTE Facility, only one truckload of ash comes out, which is then used as daily cover at the Frey Farm Landfill. The net result has been the tremendous extension of the life of the landfill. Without the WTE Facility, the landfill would have run out of capacity in 2001.
But there's another great benefit. The WTE Facility also generates clean, renewable energy (electricity) from the combustion of the non-hazardous solid waste. Steam generated during the burning process spins a turbine which creates the electricity. A small portion of the electricity powers the facility, while the majority is sold for revenue, which helps to offset the costs of operating the facility. The WTE Facility generates enough electricity to power approximately 30,000 Lancaster County homes.
In addition, ferrous and non-ferrous metals are extracted for recycling, removing them from the waste stream.
Like all of LCSWMA's facilities, the WTE Facility is subject to rigorous regulatory oversight. The WTE Facility has an excellent record of meeting and exceeding all state and federal environmental standards. In fact, on average, the WTE Facility operates at 99% below air emission limits set by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
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Waste-to-Energy Facility – Permit # 400592
Directions to the Waste-to-Energy Facility
From Philadelphia Area:
From Reading Area:
From York Area:
From Harrisburg Area by Car:
From Harrisburg Area by Truck (to avoid low bridge at Middletown):
Tons of Waste Processed: 390,486
Total Inbound Deliveries: 30,789
Tons of Ash Produced: 86,457
Kilowatt Hours of Electricity Generated from WTE (Million): 226.1
Revenue Generated from Electric Sales (Million): $5.8
Tons of Ferrous Metal Recovered and Recycled: 9,013
Tons of Non-Ferrous Metal Recovered and Recycled: 601
Revenue Generated from Recycled Ferrous Metals: $701,774
Revenue Generated from Recycled Non-Ferrous Metals: $182,516
Average Tons Delivered Daily: 1,390
Inbound Loads Received Per Day: 109
Average Minutes on Site: 12.7
Average Tons Per Inbound Load: 13.08
Electric Revenue Per Ton Processed: $40.38
Total Production to Date
Tons of Waste Processed (Millions): 9.51
Tons of Ash Produced (Millions): 2.24
Kilowatt Hours of Electricity Generated (Billions): 5.49
Electric Revenue (Million): $307.3
Tons of Ferrous Metal Recovered and Recycled: 173,656
Tons of Non-Ferrous Metal Recovered and Recycled: 2,753
How does the WTE Facility operate?
An overhead crane mixes the waste in the storage pit to ensure even composition and combustion before feeding it into one of the three independent furnaces. Each furnace, burning at over 1,800 °F, has a daily processing capacity of 400 tons and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Production of Electricity
Boiler water in tubes surrounding each furnace is converted into steam. Steam in excess of 800 °F spins the turbine, which is connected to a generator that produces about 34 megawatts of electricity, of which about 30 is exported to the utility.
Effluent from the Elizabethtown Borough Waste Water Treatment Plant that was previously discharged into the Susquehanna River provides the 550,000 gallons of water needed every day for cooling, emissions control, ash quenching and other uses. Extensive treatment of the effluent on-site is required to generate boiler quality water. A reverse osmosis water treatment system was installed in 2007, eliminating the need for hydrochloric acid and reducing the volume of caustic soda used. No wastewater leaves the zero-discharge facility; all wastewater is treated on site and recycled within the system. The WTE Facility is a member of "Businesses for the Bay", a voluntary pollution prevention program.
Emissions at the WTE Facility are well below levels set by the PA DEP with an average of 99.7% emissions compliance over the past 10 years. Control systems include:
Aqueous ammonia and hydrated lime which is injected directly into the combustion chamber of each furnace to control nitrogen oxide and acid gas emissions, respectively.
Semi-dry scrubbers that are used to further lower acid gas emissions.
Activated carbon which is injected directly into the gases leaving the boilers for mercury emissions control.
A fabric filter baghouse is used for removal of suspended particulate matter.
The cleansed air finally exits the stack, 305 feet above ground.
Reacted salts and fly ash (particulate matter) from the scrubber and baghouse are conditioned with water and then combined with the bottom ash from the furnaces. Conveyors transport the ash to a building for metals recovery. The ferrous recovery system removes metals containing iron, using a magnet. A non-ferrous recovery system was installed in 2007 to remove aluminum, copper, brass and other precious metals. The metals are sold to recycling markets. The remaining ash is taken to the landfill to be used as daily waste cover.