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Landfill makes progress for gasification plant

November 30, 2012
Steve Schulwitz - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

ATLANTA- Recovered Energy Resources offered an update to the Montmorency-Oscoda-Alpena Solid Waste Management Authority on the progress made to making the construction of a gasification facility at the landfill a reality.

RER President Brad Schneider said he has been in communications with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and believes the company may be able to get a permit which will allow for the construction of the plant and to have it tested after it is complete. Schneider said there are still more talks and ideas which need to be shared, but that obtaining the permits needed to operate should not be difficult.

"I've had a number of conversations with the DEQ and they say they are on board and they like this idea," Schneider said. "They said they would do everything they can to coordinate, so everyone is moving to the same timeline. One of the things we are looking at is a permit to construct, which wouldn't be the full operating permit, but it would allow us to build it and that would come after we could do full load testing and demonstration."

Schneider said doing the needed tests at the plant would be the most prudent way to do it because the state does not have another plant like the one proposed from which it can draw data. He said because the plant is smaller in scale, the DEQ also may consider not requiring RER to obtain some permits a larger facility must have.

"There are no facilities that can mimic the full capablity of what we are going to do. They would have to do everything on projections," Schneider said. "They also said because of the size of the unit there may be certain regulations we don't even have to be concerned about. If we were building a big, thousand pounds per day facility, then there would be different regulations, but because of the smaller size, there will probably be areas we won't have to worry about."

RER already has been in touch with Devere Construction, which will be the general contractor for the project. Schneider said before the plant is built he wants to have a building constructed for the contractor's workers and for the landfill to use as it wishes after the facility is built. He said he has also been in contact with a design firm and if an agreement can be reached, may design the plant.

In other business, the board reviewed the 2013 budget and because of the cost savings from the disposal of the landfill's leachate, some of the money could be used to help the struggling counties. Alpena Commissioner Lyle VanWormer pitched the idea of increasing the financial assurance money the counties receive from the landfill each year. This year all three counties were given $50,000 and VanWormer suggested it could be increased to $75,000. The board is expected to vote on the increase when it approves the new budget.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5689.



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