Municipal Waste To Energy Plants - The privatization of government services

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This documentary, in the form of a satellite map, examines the growth of privatization of government services in regard to Waste-to-Energy plants. This is one of those “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenarios faced by communities around the world and how to finance it. In either case we suffer the health problems and the cost of increasing the size of toxic waste landfills that taint our drinking water. If we do build Waste-to-Energy plants, combined with recycling facilities, we at least reduce the volume of trash in our landfills. There is no good solution to the trash we create that would not hurt our health, employment and economic growth. Waste-to-Energy plants at least help solve our increasing demand for energy. Whether we build WtE plants or not, our landfills will continue to be deadly money pits with a lifespan longer than ourselves.

As common councilman for a small northeast city of 79,000, I was involved in evaluating the construction of a regional Waste-to-Energy facility in a heavily populated area due to the anticipated closing of the landfill we participated in. Our analysis resulted in our not building our own facility but rather participating in a joint venture with other communities to build the Wheelabrator designed, built and operated facility in Bridgeport, CT, where blight was already a problem all us surrounding communities added to and blight we end up paying for in our taxes. The facility processes 2,250 tons per day of municipal waste and generates 67,000 kilowatts of power. Thus we gained all the benefits of it without the problems of it that we pushed on to another community.

Some other examples of Waste-to-Energy plant efficiency are:

• Wheelabrator Portsmouth processes 2,000 tons of waste generating 60,000 kilowatts.
• Covanta Camden processes 1,050 tons of waste generating 21 megawatts.
• The Brescia Waste-to-Energy Plant generates 117 MWe.