August 14, 2008

Landfill-Gas Treatment Plant, Pipeline Get Ok From State

By John Walk

A proposal by Conestoga Landfill in Berks County to pipe landfill gas to Lancaster County - where it would be used to help power local industry - has been given the green light.

The state Department of Environmental Protection's Southcentral Regional office approved the plan Monday.

Granger Energy of Morgantown will have a gas-treatment facility built adjacent to Conestoga Landfill, also in Morgantown, along with a 9-mile pipeline that will deliver gas to businesses in Lancaster County, which will convert it to electricity, Granger chief operating officer of the project Joel Zylstra said.

The facility is expected to operate without generating emissions by subjecting the gas to a three-stage treatment process, including dewatering, filtration and compression.

According to Zylstra, the project will provide the firms with a renewable source of energy that's cheaper and cleaner-burning than fossil fuels.

The gas will be piped to New Holland customers Tyson Foods, Case New Holland and New Holland Concrete and East Earl company Ewell Trucking.

The 18-inch-wide pipeline will carry 7,500 cubic feet of landfill methane per minute nine miles along an existing electrical right of way to a point east of Blue Ball.

There, it will connect to

an existing pipeline carrying 3,500 to 4,000 cubic feet of methane per minute from the Lanchester Landfill near Narvon. That system, also built by Granger, went online in December 2004.

Granger will fund construction of the processing facility and pipeline, but joins as partners in the venture with UGI Utilities, which will build, operate and maintain the pipeline, and Allied Waste, which owns the landfill.

The partners unveiled their proposal in 2006 but did not disclose its potential customers. The original timeline called for a 2007 startup.

"We do not have a definite cost yet, but the project will be in the millions," Zylstra said. "We hope to have everything completed and to begin moving gas to customers sometime in the fall (of this year)."

Granger will use multiple processes to remove as much water and other condensable substances from the gas before piping it to customers. The gas also will pass through a filter designed to remove microscopic particles.

Any of the Conestoga Landfill gas that's left over will be offered to Lanchester Landfill gas customers Dart Container, L&S Sweeteners and Advanced Food Products.

Taken together, the Conestoga and Lanchester landfill gas projects are expected to produce the energy equivalent of 200,000 barrels of oil annually, while eliminating air emissions equal to the output of 16,000 vehicles, according to published reports.

The gas-treatment facility will take the place of a proposed gas- to-energy facility at the landfill property. Plans for the gas-to- energy facility were approved in 2006, but were appealed by Berks County due to concerns about methane emissions.

As part of the settlement agreement with Berks County, Granger agreed to withdraw its plans to construct a treatment plant and pump station for the landfill gas and instead construct a new treatment facility to capture the landfill gas.

When completed, the facility is expected to employ two full-time workers.

"When the plant is up and running and the pipeline is complete, we will have an open house," Zylstra said, "and the press and public will be invited."

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