Maryland DEP to issue permits for WTE facility

Maryland DEP to issue permits for WTE facility

Nearly 2,000 public comments received in response to proposed Frederick County, Md., facility.

March 3, 2014
REW Staff

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has made final determinations to issue permits for a proposed waste-to-energy (WTE) facility in Frederick County, Md. The DEP is issuing permits and approvals that require the proposed facility to meet all applicable environmental laws and regulations for air emissions, water discharge and refuse disposal. The permits and approvals are effective February 21, 2014.

The permits and approvals are for the proposed Frederick/Carroll County Renewable Waste-to-Energy Facility in Frederick, Md. The applicant of the WTE is Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority. The operator is Wheelabrator Technologies Inc. The proposed facility is designed to incinerate municipal sol-id waste, biosolids and scrap tires to meet the long-term solid waste disposal needs of Frederick and Carroll Counties and produce about 55 megawatts gross/45 megawatts net of electricity.

Under law, local jurisdictions are responsible for developing strategies to handle their solid waste. The location of any solid waste facility is a local land use consideration and is managed through local zoning and land use laws. Maryland law and regulation requires that MDE limit its review of permit and approval applications to the effect that a facility might have on the environment and public health. MDE’s technical analysis of the permit and approval applications has shown that the facility can be built and operated in a manner that is fully in compliance with Maryland law and regulation to protect public health and the environment. The air quality permits and approvals include requirements to limit and mitigate mercury emissions that are more stringent than what is required under state and federal law.

Environmental laws and regulations provide for public participation in the permit application process. MDE highly values public review and comment. The department conducted a public hearing on the water discharge permit application and another public hearing on the air, water and refuse disposal permit and approval applications. Nearly 100 people testified at the hearings. The Department also received written comments from more than 1,800 individuals and several organizations. All comments were considered.

In response to some of the comments received, previously issued air quality and refuse disposal draft permits and approvals were modified before the final determination was made.
Modifications for the air permit include the following:

  • In response to concerns about the appropriate emissions limitation for hydrogen chloride, the best available control technology emissions limit for hydrogen chloride was reduced (from 25 parts per million to 20 parts per million on a three-hour block average).
  • In response to concerns about the absence of an emissions limitation for fine particles, a permit condition was added to limit fine particle emissions (to 100 tons for any consecutive 12-month rolling period). The facility will be required to conduct a stack test to confirm compliance.
  • In response to concerns about the volume of waste that could be processed in the facility combustors, an operational limit that measures waste by capacity to create heat was added. This limit is in addition to an operational limit measuring waste by mass.
  • For the facility’s refuse disposal permit
  • In response to concerns about potential odors from the facility and litter blowing onto the adjacent Monocacy Battlefield Park, a permit condition was added to require the permittee to include a plan for periodic washing of the solid waste tipping floor and to include a plan for meeting the permit requirement to control litter.
  • In response to a comment that the facility’s Mercury Diversion Plan did not address mercury in waste from sources outside of Frederick and Carroll counties, a permit condition was added to require the permittee to submit a plan for MDE approval for diverting mercury-containing items from a solid waste stream generated from sources outside of the counties prior to accepting that waste stream.
  • In response to comments about sampling requirements for incinerator ash, MDE modified the permit to increase the frequency of required ash testing to quarterly for the first two years and semi-annually thereafter to better characterize the toxicity of the ash and account for variability in the waste stream. The permit was also modified to require the permittee to submit a plan describing details of the ash sampling procedures.

Michelle Nadeau, a spokesperson for Wheelabrator Technologies, says, “We thank the Maryland Department of the Environment for its thorough and thoughtful review process, and we look forward to working with Frederick County and the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority to move forward on this important renewable energy project.”

Click below for a video about the project.