News & Events

It's A Real Gas - Private landfill's methane to be piped to heat homes

Daily Post Athenian / April 19, 2011
Author: Jason Reynolds, Staff Writer

An Atlanta company is betting $12 million that one man's trash is another man's treasure, at least when that garbage is at one McMinn County landfill.

The company is building a pipeline from the Meadow Branch Landfill on County Road 166 to connect to a commercial natural gas pipeline. The objective: To turn methane gas emissions from decomposing garbage in the landfill into natural gas to heat homes and operate gas stoves.

Renewco, a subsidiary of AGL Resources, is also building a processing plant at the landfill, said Ira Pearl, Renewco's president. Pearl and Jason A. Brown with AGL discussed their project Monday with the McMinn County Commission. Atlanta-based AGL owns a number of natural gas companies, including Chattanooga Gas in the Scenic City.

The methane gas will be collected from throughout the landfill by a series of wellheads that will be built. To test its concept, Renewco built test wells at the landfill last year, Pearl said.

The processing plant will clean the methane gas and pump it into the new pipeline, sending the processed gas into an East Tennessee Natural Gas Co. line in Riceville, Pearl said. The gas will be sold to a wholesaler, who will then redistribute it.

The nine-mile pipeline that is currently being laid to connect Meadow Branch to Riceville should be completely installed by the end of June, Pearl said. Walls should start going up at the processing plant next week, and the facility should be ready for testing in August prior to going into operation later that summer.

The company will meet all federal safety standards for natural gas transmission, he said.

"Our commitment is we will leave things as good as or better than we found it," Pearl said.

At first, the plant will transport about 1,500 decatherms of gas per day, Pearl said, and later it is expected to transport around 3,000 decatherms per day.

Renewco has a 20-year contract with the landfill with a five-year renewal option, he said. At least three permanent jobs will be created at the plant, he said, and at least 40 temporary construction jobs are being created.

Email: jason.reynolds@dailypostathenian.com

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