- After plans for a Delta Thermo Energy facility fell through due to financial issues in Oct. 2014, residents of Allentown, PA assumed that was the last they'd hear about waste-to-energy (WTE). Though according to emails obtained by The Morning Call, the city issued a new RFQ for a potential WTE facility in March 2015.
- Seven companies responded to the RFQ — including Waste Management, Covanta, and Abengoa Bioenergy. Waste Management recently finalized a collection contract with the city that included a different pricing structure if material goes to a WTE facility.
- City officials have declined to provide details on the responses submitted because the contract is "pre-award." City Council members were unaware of the RFQ and are hesitant to approve another WTE facility. New approval from the state's Department of Environmental Protection would also be required.
Allentown has been considering a WTE facility since 2009 and the process has been complicated. The City Council initially voted against the Delta Thermo Energy idea and residents organized a campaign to impose stricter emissions standards on the facility. The company has also been asked to provide information for an FBI probe into campaign donations, though it hasn't been accused of anything.
The decision on a new WTE facility comes at a busy time for waste issues in Allentown. A judge recently rejected a challenge to the new Waste Management collection contract brought by local hauler J.P. Mascaro & Sons. The city is also waiting to see what will happen with the proposed expansion of the nearby Chrin Landfill and will begin a single-stream recycling program next month.
The seven companies which submitted responses to the RFQ specialize in technologies that include anaerobic digestion, elutriation, combustion, and biofuels. City officials and residents will likely have much more to talk about as they weigh their options in the months to come.