April 21, 2013

Officials talking trash

Plant negotiations to address where garbage will come from.

by Mitchell Kirk

LOGANSPORT — As the amount of garbage Logansport produces in one year would barely be enough to fuel the city’s proposed new power plant for one day, those involved in the project say they’re confident enough trash can be acquired from elsewhere and are working on agreements that guarantee so.

Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin has said he’ll likely be in negotiations through October with Florida-based Pyrolyzer, LLC to develop a power plant in the city powered by refuse-derived fuel. According to Pyrolyzer’s estimates, the plant will require 4,000 to 6,000 tons of municipal solid waste a day. According to Logansport Municipal Utilities, or LMU, the community disposes about 5,000 tons of municipal solid waste a year.

Pyrolyzer’s proposal states the waste would be transported to a material recovery facility at the plant, where it would be separated and sorted. Recyclable materials like metal and glass would be stored for sale while the remaining material would be shredded and formed into pieces less than two inches in diameter, ultimately becoming the feedstock, or fuel that would power the plant.

Alvaro Almuina, director of EllSo Consulting out of Richmond Hill, Ontario and the project manager of the study team of consultants assisting the city and LMU, said they are working to establish an assurance from Pyrolyzer that it will be able to acquire enough feedstock to run the plant.

“We as a study team have said there will be enough feedstock available,” Almuina said. “We’re pursuing getting that in writing from Pyrolyzer.”

While the details of where the feedstock will come from are currently being determined in negotiations, Pyrolyzer’s proposal states it would likely come from cities in the area. According to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the state generates about 8 million tons a year. One of the largest producers of trash in the area and the country is Chicago, which generates about 1.1 million tons a year, according to the city’s website.

Those involved in the project have said most of the municipal solid waste will be transported to the plant via rail in sealed containers, with some of it coming by truck.

One of the parties involved in negotiations on the project is Gabe Hall, president of U.S. Rail Corporation. Hall said much of the garbage in the country being transported to landfills is already traveling by rail, so in order to get it to the proposed plant in Logansport, all it would require is rerouting the trains.

“It’s already in rail transit,” Hall said. “It’s already in containers. We’d simply be moving material being carted into landfills and re-purposing it.”

Paul Hartman, superintendent of LMU, said the trains bringing in the garbage would be less than 70 cars long, almost half the size of the 120-car trains that often come through the city.

Hartman also said the materials recycling facility the garbage will be dumped into will be equipped with a negative pressure system in order to prevent odors from escaping.

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or


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