Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority, System Evaluation

Posted on July 29, 2010

Client: Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority
Location: Lancaster, PA
Project Type: System Evaluation

Project Description


lancaster-facility_webD&B prepared a Report examining the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority’s (“LCSWMA’s”) recycling, composting, energy recovery, and disposal operations and providing analyses and recommendations regarding the utilization and operating economics of the LCSWMA’s disposal facilities. In order to prepare economic forecasts, D&B developed a Program Economic Model which simulates the economics of the operation of the solid waste management system. The Model was utilized to evaluate the economics and operational aspects of options for system improvements and facility expansion.

Current Status of the Authority’s Solid Waste Facility Operations

The LCSWMA System includes a transfer station complex, and energy recovery facility, a landfill, and a household hazardous waste facility. A total of 606,214 tons of waste was processed or disposed of by the LCSWMA in 2008. The Authority disposed of 305,428 tons of refuse, 874 tons of non-processible waste, 1,552 tons of wood, 97,593 tons of construction and demolition wastes, 103,597 tons of residual wastes generated within Lancaster County, and 97,170 tons of residual wastes generated outside of the County; LCSWMA also provided for the transfer of 11,472 tons of recyclable materials to privately owned materials recovery facilities. All LCSWMA Facilities operate in full compliance with their State and Federal Permits.

Current Recycling and Household Hazardous Waste Program

Lancaster County’s recycling and household hazardous waste management program has been successful in attaining significant reductions in the amount of wastes disposed at the RRF and the landfill, and in reducing the content of hazardous household products in the wastestream. The current status of the municipal recycling programs and the LCSWMA’s household hazardous waste program were evaluated to identify the actions necessary to expand these programs while remaining consistent with the County’s integrated waste management philosophy. Expansion of recycling efforts in “non-mandated” municipalities was identified as the primary means to increase recycling rates in Lancaster County. Further, the addition of corrugated cardboard, junk mail, and magazines to programs where these items are not currently collected would add to recycling rates.

Waste Generation Forecast

A waste generation forecast was prepared in order to assess the quantities of waste requiring disposal. The forecast utilized projections of residential population and commercial development trends from the Lancaster County Planning Commission and the Pennsylvania State Data Center. Future per capita waste generation rates were projected by reviewing Lancaster County residential and commercial waste generation for the period from 2003 through 2007. Information on future waste generation trends, from sources, such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”), was utilized to assess the potential for future per capita generation rates. The population and per capita waste generation projections were combined in order to estimate future waste generation in Lancaster County.

Program Economic Model

A Microsoft-Excel based Program Economic Model was developed in order to model LCSWMA expenses and revenues associated with the past, current, and projected future operations of the system. The Model was varied to incorporate the Base Case representing continued future operation of the system with no capacity expansion, and the Scenario 1 Case in which the system is expanded. The model also includes a calculation of required landfill capacity, which takes into account the impact of sytem operations on the quantities of materials which are required to be landfilled. The model therefore projects annual operating expenses and annual operating revenues associated with the operation of the system and the impact of the system operation on the Authority’s landfill space requirements.

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