Energy Authority Helps Reclaim Portions Of New York Landfill

Tonawanda, N.Y. - An experiment investigating the feasibility of landfill reclamation is underway at the City of Tonawanda Landfill.

Through a research program sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, portions of the landfill are being excavated using conventional surface-mining technology. Screens and magnets separate soils from the excavated wastes to recover materials like metals, plastics and any combustible material such as wood and paper.

The recovered soil is evaluated for potential uses as daily landfill cover, in building applications or as a substitute compost. The scrap metal recovered is recycled and the energy content of combustible materials is under study.

Once the material buried in an existing landfill is excavated, the recovered site can be upgraded into a state-of-the-art landfill or redeveloped. The Tonawanda Landfill project will help determine which alternative is most economical for the city - landfill reclamation or closure.

Across New York, the Energy Au-thority has selected five other sites to conduct landfill reclamation studies. A reclamation project in Edin-burg (Saratoga County) was one of the first landfills in the nation to show that this technology may be an economical alternative to conventional landfill closure.

If the study reports the Tona-wanda site suitable for reclamation, the city may be eligible for funding from the State Department of En-vironmental Conservation Landfill Closure Assistance Program.

A final report on this project is expected in December.

Janesville, Wis. - Two abandoned landfills that have been declared hazardous by the federal government may provide enough methane to help power a nearby pen plant.

The city of Janesville, Wis., Wis-consin Power & Light (WPL) and local manufacturer Parker Pen are studying the possibility of routing methane gas from the two 18-acre landfills directly into the Parker Pen plant.

"If the economics are there, we would like to do it," says John Houseman of Parker Pen. He would like to draw benefits from the gas generated at the Janesville landfill and replace natural gas with meth-ane for manufacturing purposes.

The Chicago office of Woodward-Clyde Group Inc. is designing plans for the cleanup of the site, including extracting gas, treating groundwater and placing caps on the landfill.

The city of Janesville and Parker Pen have agreed to cover the costs of the proposed $14.6 million cleanup.

"A lot depends on pricing," said Jim Maple, a manager at WPL.

WPL is interested in using meth-ane to run engines, power boilers and supply cooling power. "It makes good sense to conserve electricity instead of being wasteful," he said.

Woodward-Clyde projects the ex-traction systems will not be in place until 1994 and that they would be-gin operating in 1995.