Covanta is laying off a portion of staff at its Doral, Florida, refuse-derived fuel facility at the end of the week, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification filed with the state on Oct. 2. The layoffs affect 42 workers at the site, the South Florida Business Journal reported. Including an earlier round of layoffs in April, more than 100 employees have been let go at the site this year.
Covanta has maintained staff at the Miami-Dade County-owned site following a fire that destroyed a substantial portion of the facility on Feb. 12. When it was operational, the Doral RDF facility processed up to 1 million tons of waste annually.
In April, the company laid off 64 operations, maintenance and support staff, acknowledging the number of employees needed at the site was “greatly reduced.” In both its April and October notices, Covanta said it had encouraged employees to seek employment at its other facilities and worked with the county and other area businesses to find new opportunities for its workers.
While much of the site remains idle due to the damage, the operator has been holding staff on payroll partly in hopes of restarting a portion of the facility through a new county contract. But the fire prompted a series of measures from the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, including the decision to reconsider plans for a new waste-to-energy facility at the Doral site. The county mayor and commissioners have now expressed interest in building Miami-Dade’s next WTE plant elsewhere, citing concerns for the residential community that has sprung up around the Doral site since the plant was built more than 40 years ago.
Covanta has urged the county to partially reopen operations at the Doral site, saying it would preserve jobs and some disposal capacity for the next decade while Miami-Dade plans, builds and permits a new facility. Mayor Daniella Levine Cava came out against the idea in a September memo, saying it was too costly. The county subsequently voted to begin winding down the Doral site.
Since the fire, Covanta has continued to maintain a tire shredding operation at the Doral site. The operator left 22 tire shredding and site decommissioning roles unaffected by the layoffs, according to the notice. There are 10 other regional support roles that also remain, according to the WARN notice.
Covanta will continue to have a robust presence in Florida, already the state with the most WTE facilities. Last month, Pasco County approved a contract extension for a WTE facility expansion with Covanta worth up to $550 million.