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Need to Know

Illinois County Board OKs Settlement on Landfill

With an affirmative vote Tuesday from the Champaign County Board, only the Macon County Board and Mahomet Valley Water Authority stand in the way of the approval of a multigovernmental consent decree addressing a lawsuit with the Clinton Landfill in DeWitt County.

The Champaign County Board voted, 15-5, to approve a settlement decree between the landfill operators and 14 local governments in central Ilinois. The five "no" votes came from Democrats Rachel Schwartz, Giraldo Rosales and Astrid Berkson, and Republicans Aaron Esry and Jeff Kibler.

In a second major vote at Tuesday's special county board meeting, a proposal to make a $43,290 budget transfer at the Champaign County Mental Health Board to fund two positions and continue the work of the Access Initiative program for three months failed by one vote.

Continue reading at The News-Gazette

Hauler All Waste Opens Connecticut CNG Station as it Converts Fleet

Connecticut waste hauler All Waste Inc. has opened a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in Hartford, Conn., and will add 10 CNG-fueled vehicles this fall.

The Hartford-based All Waste is undergoing a five-year process of converting 60 of its 80 waste trucks to CNG, and already has 20 currently running on CNG.

TruStar Energy, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., designed and built the time-fill fueling station, according to a news release.

The conversion to domestic CNG fits with the company’s environmental program, which includes single-stream recycling for both commercial and residential customers, and using vehicles that collect both waste and recycling to reduce the number of trucks on the road, said Derek Alos, All Waste operations specialist.

“Choosing to fuel our fleet with domestic, CNG means our trucks are cleaner and quieter. This is good for our company and for our customers," Alos said.

TruStar designed the station to minimize fueling disruption of the drivers’ daily routes. The station consists of a single 200 horsepower compressor and 60 time-fill fueling posts. The station also includes resources for the installation of a second compressor to allow for quick expansion, as All Waste converts more of its fleet to CNG.

CNG conversion in the waste and recycling continues moving along steadily. Most recently in September Waste Management Inc. and New Jersey Natural Gas opened a public-access CNG fueling station at Waste Management's facility in Toms River, N.J. And Advanced Disposal opened a $1.6 million CNG fueling station in Macon, Ga., and is now operating 15 CNG trucks in the area, with plans to expand the fleet. The Ponte Vedra, Fla.-based Advanced Disposal operates 12 percent of its collection routes on CNG, and the company plans to increase that total to 15 percent by the end of the year.

In July, Phoenix-based Republic Services announced the addition of 17 CNG waste collection trucks to its fleet in the Denver area. This brings Republic’s total number of natural gas-powered vehicles in Colorado to 82. Since the beginning of this year, the percentage of CNG trucks, relative to Republic’s overall fleet, has increased from approximately 14 percent to 15 percent.

Harland Chadbourne, director of purchasing for Waste Pro USA, says the Longwood, Fla.-based company also remains committed to growing its CNG fleet and fueling facilities because of its benefits.

CNG continues to be a safe and reliable fuel source that burns cleaner than diesel and gasoline fuels,” he says. “Using CNG also moves Waste Pro away from our dependency on petroleum-based fuels and reduces the supply and demand volatility that comes with imported fuels. Additionally, our customers prefer our use of the fuel as many of them have complimented on how quiet our trucks operate when compared to the diesel models.”

Since the beginning of the year, Waste Pro USA has committed to build one new fuel station as well as expanding and upgrading two other facilities. About 10 percent of its fleet, 190 trucks, are CNG-powered.

A Look Inside a Successful Composting Pilot in Charlottesville, Va.

Tucked in a rolling luggage carrier, frozen in 13-gallon compostable bags and layered in buckets, Charlottesville residents have been creatively toting their food waste to the popular City Market every Saturday since April in a collaborative composting pilot that has diverted nearly 5,500 pounds of waste from landfills.

The Virginia collective, which includes the city of Charlottesville, GreenBlue and Black Bear Composting, has grown from seven participants the first week to most recently, 53 participants dropping off their kitchen waste at the market.

“Before the program began, all waste generated at the City Market was collected as one waste stream and brought to a regional dirty MRF,” said Maya Kumazawa, public works program coordinator for the city of Charlottesville. “As other cities had demonstrated, establishing a composting component at the farmers market could be a springboard for increased composting awareness and participation.”

The city was awarded a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to test out this composting initiative. In addition to collecting residential and market-generated organics, the city wanted to provide education and to collect data to inform future composting discussions. GreenBlue, an environmental nonprofit focused on the sustainable use of materials, was awarded the contract to handle all the market waste, says Ryan M. Cooper, project associate at the organization.

“We're interested in sustainable packaging, specifically compostable packaging and we’re based in Charlottesville, so we saw it as a fit in order to really tackle that compostable packaging piece with the market, the food vendors there, and also just educating people about the things they're throwing away,” Cooper says.

Cooper says, he, along with other volunteers, staff four waste stations located throughout the market, answering questions and providing guidance about how to properly dispose of materials.

“I stand in front of a recycling bin, a compost bin and a landfill can. Everyone that walks up, I say, ‘Hey, can I help you with all your trash?’” he says. “A lot of people have no idea what to do with it. They don't know what's recyclable. They don't know what goes to the landfill. And they often don't know what can be composted.”

GreenBlue also has a main station at the market with flyers and educational materials about recycling and about composting. He says an average of 36 residents – most of whom live in the city and don’t have an ability to backyard composting – participate every week and the average collection is about 210 pounds a week. On a recent Saturday, they collected 313 pounds.

“The average drop-off is about 5.5 pounds per participant,” Cooper says. “With 12,000 households in Charlottesville, and if everybody made 5.5 pounds a week, that's about 33 tons a week that we could be diverting if there was curbside collection.”

Having the composting presence at the market raised awareness and got many local citizens to take the next step of composting at home, said Eric Walter, chief composting officer at Black Bear Composting.

“The pilot program put some real numbers behind the anecdotal data that locals want a composting option,” Walter said. “Food composting is most definitely catching on in Charlottesville. The [University of Virginia], public schools, private schools, restaurants, caterers, hospitals, offices and special events are all getting on board, with new businesses starting programs every day. Charlottesville has a strong local food movement and people are beginning to understand how composting plays a key role in that cycle.”

The pilot ends Oct. 31 and the “what's next” piece is an open-ended question.

“This was a one-time grant, and so now comes the hard part of meetings with the city and city council meetings, and working with local churches and businesses to try to figure out what is the solution long-term,” Cooper says. “We're working on at least trying to run the pilot again next year.”

For the immediate future, the city is helping residents sign up for private residential collection as well as providing guidelines about backyard composting.

“The program has been very successful,” Kumazawa says. “We have only one month to go, but the number of participants and volume of composting is still increasing. The community engagement and support has been really positive.”

Walter would like to see the composting program become a regular part of the market and have the city try other pilots in different settings.

“While the ultimate goal for Charlottesville would be curbside compost collections, it’s valuable to try alternative collection methods in small, cost-effective, measurable pilots,” he says.