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Recently, the chairman of the Hillsborough County Commission, Ken Hagan, wrote an op-ed for the Tampa Bay Times commemorating the county’s 25-year partnership with Covanta Energy.
In the op-ed , Chairman Hagan explained that the facility processes 1,800 tons of solid waste each day. According to Hagan, this is “enough energy to continuously power more than 20,000 homes and businesses annually.”
In addition, Hagan highlighted how well the plant has operated over the years, and how its performance surpasses emissions standards set in federal regulations:
[quote]Over these 25 years, Hillsborough citizens have enjoyed world-class reliability and emission levels more than 50 percent below the Environmental Protection Agency’s requirements.[/quote]
In his op-ed Hagan noted a major milestone: The facility has processed more than 10.5 million tons of waste. Hagan laid out what this means for the community:
[quote]Ten million tons is the equivalent of taking 1.9 million cars off the road for one year — or planting 240 million trees. It means we’ve offset emissions from 400 million propane grills or 8 million tons of greenhouse gases. It also translates to 160,000 tons of recycled metals that would not have otherwise been recycled, and 10,000 acre feet of open space saved from being land-filled.[/quote]
Hagan also took time to describe Covanta’s Clean World Initiative, mentioning that the facility “worked closely with us to enable disconnection of the adjacent water and wastewater treatment plants from the electric grid, and enabled the county to power those facilities with the clean, renewable energy generated by the waste-to-energy facility.”
Finally, Hagan addressed how the facility’s presence has been an economic boom for the county, saving taxpayers money in their pockets annually—“Hillsborough taxpayers reap multiple advantages, including saving $600,000 annually because we no longer purchase commercially priced electricity.”
Hillsborough is a shining example of how Waste-to-energy is a making a positive difference many communities, from the environment, to economics to better waste management.
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