SOLID WASTE/Parish outsources wood waste combustion
When Lincoln Parish, La., closed its solid waste landfill, some of the material that would have gone in it was diverted to the parish’s construction and demolition debris landfill. The addition of that material — mostly green waste like tree limbs, pine straw and leaves — meant that the landfill’s life would be severely shortened.
Consequently, Parish Administrator/Engineer Richard Durrett began to look for alternatives for the parish’s wood and green waste. The parish ruled out composting. “The costs and regulations were just too much,” Durrett says. “We couldn’t justify it.”
The parish contacted Ronnie Crochet, who convinced it to become a member of what he calls his “Environmental Partnership Plan.” Crochet owns Baton Rouge, La.-based Crochet Equipment, which manufactures an above-ground wood waste combustor that reduces waste to less than 1 percent of its initial volume. The resulting sterilized ash can then be landfilled or used as a soil enhancer.
Lincoln Parish’s problem was that it did not have the wherewithal to operate a wood burner. “We would have had to hire another person or two and buy more equipment,” Durrett says. Instead, the company installed a 20-tph combuster and agreed to operate it under a 10-year, non-escalating contract. The parish pays the company $15 per ton of material — about half of what it was paying per-ton in disposal fees. Additionally, the parish did not have to go through a trying permitting process, Durrett says.
Durrett is not sure exactly how much the parish has saved through its outsourcing arrangement. “We haven’t put a dollar figure on it,” he says. “But we do know that, over a period of time, it will be considerable. We would have had to acquire land to expand our landfill. We estimate [the burner] has lengthened the life of our landfill by about 20 years.” The burner, which processes about 12,000 tons of material per year, has reduced the amount of debris going into the parish landfill by 85 percent, he says.