AUGUSTA — That bag of trash you leave curbside or take to the Hatch Hill landfill today could end up powering your diesel pickup truck in the future.

City officials are in discussions with a Texas-based waste-to-energy company that proposes to build a $20 million plant at Hatch Hill to convert trash into diesel fuel.

Councilors meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in council chambers at Augusta City Center and are scheduled to hear a presentation on the idea.

The proposal could double the remaining life span of Hatch Hill by diverting half of the waste it receives to the proposed, on-site diesel-producing plant, officials say.

Lesley Jones, Augusta’s director of public works, said the technology is being used in other states and around the world.

“This is an exciting idea and if the details can be worked out, it will prolong the life of the landfill and take trash and convert it to diesel fuel,” Jones said. “In short, if this becomes a reality, we would have to change our ideas about traditional recycling, as most of the waste we generate, trash and today’s recyclables, would be processed through the facility. Not having to handle a large recycling stream and securing a viable energy generating solid waste disposal solution would likely save everyone money in the long term.”

At their meeting Thursday night, councilors are scheduled to hear a presentation on the proposal from Eastern Green Energy LLC, a subsidiary of GGI Energy, a Texas-based waste-to-energy equipment manufacturer. According to its website, the energy firm has installed waste-to-energy systems around the world.

City Manager William Bridgeo said the firm came to Augusta with a proposal to lease space at Hatch Hill for 20 years, where it would build a plant capable of converting 41 tons of trash per day into liquid fuel.

Bridgeo said the city would pledge to divert about half the garbage the city takes in and pay the firm, for taking in that waste, the same rate the city charges users of Hatch Hill.

“We’d charge them an annual lease payment, to offset the lost revenues from tipping fees,” Bridgeo said. “The intention of that would be to make us whole, or perhaps even do a little better than that. … I think it has got merit. It’s definitely worth pursuing. This could be a nice opportunity to do something quite progressive in the area of solid waste disposal and recycling.”

The landfill takes waste from residents and businesses in Augusta as well as eight surrounding communities: Chelsea, Farmingdale, Gardiner, Hallowell, Manchester, Pittston, Randolph and Whitefield.

Now the landfill is projected to last 15 years before its current layout will be full. Bridgeo and Jones said the proposed waste-to-energy plant could double its remaining life span, to 30 years.

The process, according to Eastern Green Energy, would include sorting, crushing and dehydrating the waste and, with proprietary technology, converting it into gas, purifying it, and converting it into ready-to-use fuel. At full production, the operation could employ up to 16 people.

Bridgeo said the fuel produced would belong to the company.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

 


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