- Report Published -
|Solid Waste Management in Virginia|
|Department of Environmental Quality|
|Chapter 584 (Regular Session, 1999)|
|This interim report provides information for the DEQ's comprehensive study of solid waste management in Virginia as requested by the 1999 General Assembly.|
The scope of the report, study issues, and findings include the following:
1. Background information on the solid waste management program in Virginia and municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills in Virginia. An overview of the permitting, compliance and enforcement programs is provided, as well as a history of the solid waste management regulations in Virginia.
2. Projections on future landfill capacity and landfill capacity needs in Virginia. The report indicates that based on the projected rate of filling, the permitted capacity available in 1998 will be used up by 2014. In addition, the Non-Subtitle D capacity is approximately 5% of the total available capacity permitted at this time.
3. Comparison of costs and benefits for all active Non-Subtitle D (HB 1205) landfills is provided under two scenarios: 1) the continued operation of Non-Subtitle D landfills and possible corrective action; and 2) the early closure of Non-Subtitle D landfills (with alternative disposal at a Subtitle D landfill) and possible corrective action. Scenario two may present a potentially lower level of corrective action versus scenario one; however, the benefit /cost analysis needs to be made on a site-specific basis for each Non-Subtitle D landfill. A site-specific analysis is recommended in order to make accurate comparisons of costs and benefits for this category of landfills.
4. An analysis of solid waste disposal practices and the status of Non-Subtitle D landfills in Virginia as compared with 16 other states is summarized in the following table.
5. A review of waste reduction and recycling practices of 16 states, Virginia and other sources. Information was compiled which could be used to enhance waste reduction and recycling efforts in Virginia. The study found that all states surveyed have instituted a suite of initiatives promoting and requiring recycling, such as local solid waste management plans, recycled newsprint requirements, procurement preferences for recycled paper, tax credits for recycling equipment and facilities, landfill bans on waste tires, and outreach programs. States that have made recycling mandatory have the highest recycling rates.
6. Review of alternatives to landfills and a cost/benefit comparison of alternatives versus landfills reveals that:
An incineration or a Waste-to-Energy (WTE) facility is usually not competitive with landfilling in less densely populated areas. A WTE facility typically requires a minimum municipal solid waste (MSW) flow rate of at least 500 tons/day (tpd), which is above the flow of most communities with Non-Subtitle D facilities. The economic feasibility of a WTE facility also depends on revenues from the sale of electricity or steam. Prices received for energy produced by a WTE may be insufficient to cost-justify a WTE facility when fuel prices are low. A WE facility has limited flexibility to handle waste flow rates below or above the facility's design capacity due to the high capital and operation and maintenance costs, which dictate that the design capacity of a WTE facility be optimized. The design capacity of the largest WTE are between 2,000 to 3,000 tpd; this capacity is much less than a large regional landfill which may be capable of accepting up to 10,000 tpd. Additionally, the option of constructing a WTE facility does not preclude the need to operate a landfill, since the any noncombustible waste and the incinerator ash must be disposed of properly.
Recycling and composting can reduce the inflow of waste to landfills and save landfill capacity. Recycling and composting operations that are managed with attention to cost effectiveness can also reduce the total MS W disposal costs for a community. Programs that have documented their recycling and composting success stories, with a full accounting of costs and revenues, provide the best models for other communities looking for ways to improve their waste diversion and recycling rates.
The information presented in this report may be refined as the study progresses toward completion. The DEQ will use the information contained in this interim report to develop any recommendations .that may be appropriate.