Need to Know

Covanta Tulsa WTE Plant Celebrates 30 Years of Service

Since 1986, the facility has processed approximately 9 million tons of waste.

Covanta Tulsa, the waste-to-energy facility which serves the City of Tulsa, Okla., neighboring communities is celebrating 30 years of reliable operations.

Since 1986, the facility has processed approximately 9 million tons of waste, saving more than 75 acres of land from being developed into landfills and has generated the equivalent of 4 million megawatt hours of electricity, enough to supply the needs of over 12,000 homes every year.

“Thirty years ago, the City of Tulsa faced a dual challenge: finding a disposal location for the citizens’ trash and a means to manage volatile natural gas prices during the era of deregulation,” stated United States Senator Jim Inhofe. “Energy-from-Waste solved both of these challenges. Walter B. Hall, and many others, had a vision for Tulsa and Covanta Tulsa continues to fulfill that vision. The facility is providing a zero landfill alternative which helps this community and Northeast Oklahoma with economic development opportunities and overall resiliency.”

Located in West Tulsa, the Covanta Tulsa Renewable Energy facility processes 1,125 tons per day of municipal solid waste, generating up to 265,000 pounds per hour of steam. A portion of the steam powers a turbine and in turn, generates clean, renewable energy that is sold to the Public Service Company of Oklahoma. The remaining steam is exported to Holly Frontier, Inc., a neighboring refinery, offsetting the refinery’s need to use fossil fuels to supply its energy needs. The facility is also a large recycler of metal – recovering 168,000 tons of ferrous metal over the past 30 years, or enough steel to build more than 140,000 cars. 

To commemorate 30 years of sustainable operations, Covanta Tulsa has partnered with non-profit Up With Trees and plans to donate 30 trees to Eugene Field Elementary School over the next several years. Covanta Tulsa donated an initial 23 food-bearing trees to the nearby school earlier this year, allowing all 23 classes to participate first-hand in the planting and caring for the trees.

“For three decades, Covanta Tulsa has provided reliable, sustainable waste management service to the greater Tulsa area and has worked to establish and cultivate innovative partnerships that form lasting impacts in our community,” said Covanta Tulsa Business Manager Matthew Newman. “Our partnership with Up With Trees and the Urban Food Forest is a great example of our unwavering commitment to being a good neighbor and our work to advance sustainability throughout the community.  Not only will these trees provide students with healthy food including apples, figs, apricots and pecans but they will improve air and water quality in the area.” 

In 2012, Covanta Tulsa received the Henry Bellmon Sustainability Award, a statewide award in Oklahoma that recognizes organizations that are dedicated to a balanced approach toward quality of life for all, responsible economic growth and environmental stewardship. The facility also provides local communities with safe destruction of unwanted pharmaceuticals through its Rx4Safety program, which helps deter prescription drug abuse and protects waterways and drinking water from pollution. To date, more than 125,000 pounds of medication have been destroyed by Covanta Tulsa through a partnership with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. In addition, Covanta Tulsa received Keep Oklahoma Beautiful’ s 2014 “Towering Spirit” award for the Rx4Safety program and again in 2015 for an initiative to properly collect and recycle mercury containing thermostats.

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