County Receives Permits for Waste-to-Energy Project


FREDERICK COUNTY, Md. - The Maryland Department of the Environment has issued the solid waste, air and water discharge permits necessary to begin for construction of a regional waste-to-energy project planned for Frederick County. 

“Waste-to-energy is a process where instead of land-filling or transferring your waste to another landfill, you actually take the waste that's the trash that comes from your house, after you recycle. We combust that waste and create heat and the heat creates steam which turns a steam turbine which generates electricity,” Michael Marschner, special projects manager for Frederick County, Maryland. 

There is a potential looming problem. Officials say Carroll County has a 40 percent share in the project and could be backing out. If that happens, the county says they won’t be able to move forward with the project, certainly as a regional project. County officials say the project has many benefits.

“It is greener than land filling and other processes that transfer your waste to other states. Right now, 90 percent of our waste is trucked to other states,” said Marschner.

Over the last decade, the county says they’ve spent $83 million to transfer waste to Pennsylvania and Virginia. The county also says that cost is increasing every month.

Some residents say the project itself costs too much and has too little benefit. 

“I have been following the project for quite some time, I used to be a proponent of trash incineration but then I looked into it more closely and was appalled to see the costs of the project and the cost if operation,” said Frederick County resident Ellis Burruss.

Burruss says he believes the proposed incinerator wouldn’t create much power, or solve the issues the county faces in finding a reliable waste solution. Burruss was one thousands that offered comment against the facility during the public hearings on the proposed permits.

County officials say the facility will generate clean, renewable energy for tens of thousands of Maryland homes, while creating jobs in the county. The County is also partnering up with the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority and Wheelabrator Techonlogies for the project.

County officials say they will being construction later this year depending on if they find a new partner for the project, or if Carroll County continues with it’s share in the project. For more information on the proposed project and the permits click here

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