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The integrated solid waste management system includes many services that benefit residents, both directly and indirectly. These include home chemical and recycling centers, the landfill, recycling facilities, renewable energy facilities, transfer stations, and yard waste processing facilities. These facilities are all operated in accordance with significant Federal and State regulations, and are subject to extensive monitoring and reporting. The rates our county residents and businesses pay reflect the cost of the entire system.
In using supplemental waste, we are providing limited access to our system for waste delivered directly to the Renewable Energy Facility 2, and only for a limited time.
Once the Renewable Energy Facility 2 is at capacity, estimated in 2022, the traffic on this part of North Jog Road will include these 60 additional daily trips, whether we use supplemental waste now or not, and that traffic will be well within the ultimate road design capacity.
Right now, we receive almost 500 loads, or 1,000 trips per day. Palm Beach County Traffic Division projects more than 6,300 trips per day on Jog Road in 2015 from all residential and commercial traffic, and Jog Road is designed to handle this traffic. The additional 30 loads (or 60 trips) will have no discernible traffic impact.
In addition, our contract with the facility operator contains a specific performance guarantee related to noise that they are required to meet. The decision to use supplemental waste until the facility is at capacity on Palm Beach County waste will have no impact on the noise generated by the facility, which will be operating whether or not we use supplemental waste.
The Solid Waste Authority already receives and processes approximately 1.7 million tons of waste per year. The additional waste represents a small amount (up to 200,000 tons initially and declining over time) when compared to what we already receive.
This use of supplemental waste opportunity is temporary. The material will be delivered directly to Renewable Energy Facility 2 and not the landfill. Ultimately, with Palm Beach County’s estimated population growth, the Solid Waste Authority will be receiving the same amount of material from Palm Beach County residents after 2022, but not at a cost savings to residents.
Air emissions from the facility are monitored in a number of ways. Renewable Energy Facility 2 has a number of Continuous Emissions Monitors (CEM), required by our permits, which sample and analyze air quality on a continuous basis. In addition, there are quarterly and annual emission tests required to demonstrate the performance of the emissions control equipment and Renewable Energy Facility 2’s compliance with emissions standards. All of this information will be recorded and reported to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).
The Solid Waste Authority permits also require us to self-report to FDEP if there is any upset condition or performance that impacts emissions. There is a potential for significant penalties for exceeding emission limits and failing to report them, both as fines and penalties. If permit requirements are deliberately violated, there are potential civil or criminal penalties for Solid Waste Authority managers individually.
In addition, there is university-sponsored research under way investigating the potential for reuse of most or all of the ash that we currently landfill, just like ash from coal-fired power plants is used in the manufacturing of concrete. If this research proves successful, the life of the Solid Waste Authority’s landfill may be dramatically extended, bringing us closer to the potential of 0 landfill by 2046.
The Solid Waste Authority expects the recycling rate to increase. Even if the imported material has already been through a recycling process, Renewable Energy Facility 2 will have extensive metals recovery systems that will remove any residual metals from the ash prior to it being placed in the landfill.
In addition, the State of Florida counts waste delivered to a Renewable Energy facility towards the state’s 75% Recycling goal, and the state provides one ton of recycling credit for each megawatt hour of energy produced.