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Proposed alternative fuel facility must clear multiple regulatory hurdles

At least three agencies must review and approve plans by Entsorga West Virginia LLC

June 23, 2011|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A company's proposal to build a facility near Martinsburg capable of producing nearly 60,000 tons annually of alternative fuel from solid waste must clear multiple regulatory hurdles.

Plans by Entsorga West Virginia LLC must be reviewed and permitted by the West Virginia Public Service Commission, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority, solid waste authority Chairman Clint Hogbin said Thursday.

Entsorga, a subsidiary of the Tortona, Italy-based Entsorga Italia S.p.A, has proposed to lease 4 acres of the Solid Waste Authority's old landfill property at 870 Grapevine Road for the "waste-to-alternative-fuel" operation. The lease the company proposed is for 20 years, Hogbin said.

The fuel produced after the raw waste is separated, shredded, granulated and screened could be used at facilities such as a cement kiln operated by Essroc Italcemente Group, which quarries limestone and produces cement nearby, DEP engineer Steven R. Pursley said Thursday.

A letter of interest submitted by Apple Valley Waste indicates the waste-hauling company would be able to deliver up to 70,000 tons of waste per day to the facility, which would amount to about 12 garbage trucks daily, Hogbin said.

The trucks would enter the old landfill property before two sharp S-turns on Grapevine Road, less than a mile from W.Va. 9 if Entsorga receives a permit for a new entrance off the road from the state Department of Transportation, Hogbin said.

"From a transportation issue, that's a critical issue," Hogbin said.

While the company has yet to apply for a "certificate of need" from the state PSC or a solid-waste management permit from the DEP, the company has applied for a state Division of Air Quality permit.

The permit could be issued as early as July 11, if the state does not receive any public comments or requests for a public hearing, said Pursley, who is the DEP engineer assigned to handle the company's air quality application. The DEP has yet to receive any feedback, he said.

The deadline to submit comments is 5 p.m. on July 8, Pursley said.

According to a four-page evaluation/fact sheet about the operation by the DEP, emissions from the facility would be limited to particulate matter, such as dust, and no hazardous or toxic air pollutants would be emitted from the facility,

Much of the particulate matter would be generated by truck traffic, Pursley said.

Hogbin said the operation would roughly double the county recycling program numbers, noting that tires, electronics, white goods (appliances) and batteries would be diverted to the county's Grapevine Recycling Center.

Before applying for a site approval certificate that is required by the solid waste authority, the company had to ask the authority's board to amend its site plan to allow the facility to be considered because such an operation wasn't anticipated when the planning document was adopted in 2005, Hogbin said.

Entsorga submitted the amendment request in May and the solid waste authority has asked for clarification of documentation submitted, Hogbin said.

The authority will hold a public hearing on the amendment proposed after the board feels they fully understand the company's request, Hogbin said.

Pursley said he is not aware of another facility like the one proposed in West Virginia. Hogbin said Entsorga operates only seven such facilities, and they are all in Europe.

Entsorga West Virginia LLC was incorporated in October 2010, according to the West Virginia secretary of state's online business organization database.

While Hogbin acknowledged the regulatory requirements are significant for a company that appears to be proposing a "green" alternative to landfilling, but he also said the slow process ensures a maximum amount of public participation and input.

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