- Rutherford County, TN is continuing to explore investments in waste-to-energy (WTE) technology as its landfill, owned by Republic, will reach the end of its lifespan in eight to 15 years.
- The landfill accepted MSW from 19 different Tennessee counties in 2014, with a majority originating in Rutherford County.
- According to Tennessee Deputy Mayor Jeff Davidson, the county will likely make a decision after forming a committee of representatives from the county and the cities to discuss options, then hiring a private consultant with expertise in the WTE niche.
Weighing waste-to-energy options has been an ongoing research project for Rutherford County, which is growing in population as its landfill space shrinks.
The county is looking at its options very carefully, as the facility could cost a million to multimillions, though can generate revenue through fees. But the landfill brings in money through fees too, so the question is, how much more sound of an investment is WTE? Still, Rutherford must come to a decision one way or the other soon as its landfill reaches capacity.
Meanwhile, the waste-to-energy concept is being weighed elsewhere in Tennessee — for instance Sevier Solid Waste Inc. has partnered with Nashville-based PHG Energy to build a gasification plant in the state to convert compost into thermal energy while producing a product to be sold as fuel. Sevier also operates a composting plant that processes garbage from Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.