The Gas Recovery Project at the Prairie View Regional Landfill has been a cooperative effort between the utility industry, local government and other concerns that went online in June 2010. The effort has resulted in creating a power generating station at the landfill that is powered by the landfill itself.
The open house and dedication event began with opening remarks by the area president of Allied Waste Services, Jeff Kintzle, who said, "It's a very exciting day with what's going on here." Kintzle welcomed guests, thanked supporters and recognized key people and organizations involved in the process of getting the project completed. He said the Lamar facility, which can "take yesterdays trash and power homes" and two similar projects in the state are "examples of Allied's commitment to the environment.
Lamar Mayor Keith Divine was next in line to speak and he said, "We hope we're generating power out of this facility 50 years from now." Divine gave listeners a brief history of waste disposal in the city and then detailed how it had progressed. He went into more detail as the timeline approached the point of the day's ceremony. The mayor concluded by saying, "It's been a long road; it's come along just about better than any other project we've had going.
Several other speakers made brief comments and Ted Christensen, a representative of Shafer, Kline & Warren, the engineering firm that designed the system, presented Mayor Divine with a plaque commemorating the efforts of all those who worked "for the benefit of the City of Lamar."
A bit of how the system works was explained and everyone present was invited into the building housing the two huge Caterpillar engines that burn the landfill produced methane gas and turn the generators that create electrical power. It was mentioned that later, when the engines were restarted, no one could enter because of the noise level. The building was crowded with people looking at the engines for awhile. Some guests chose to eat rather than view the engines.
Michael's KC Style Bar B Que catered the affair and provided brisket, pulled pork, and chicken as well as fixins. Tents were set up and about 100 people were fed. Before sitting down to eat Mayor Divine spoke individually with members of the media. Divine said, the facility right now provides power to about 2,300 homes, most of the residences in Lamar. He also said the city has realized $7,000 per month in savings.
The city does not have plans to release any of the power generated at the plant back into the grid. They have a substantial debt to pay. "We're going to keep all of it we can," Divine said. We need at least a $7 million return. Divine also said the city is already looking at adding another generator and having it online within a year.
After the meal most guests took a tour of the landfill and saw how it is constructed and some of how it is operated. Allied Waste employees were on board the multi-passenger vans to act as guides and answer questions. Key elements of the facility were pointed out and visitors were shuttled back to the parking lot.
The Prairie View Regional Landfill covers a little more than 700 acres and employs 13 local people. It handles as much as 39,000 tons of waste per month from several communities and areas. The Gas Recovery Project began as an idea and a contract in 2007 and ground for the project was broken in 2009. Through a lot of hard work by many individuals and the cooperation of several different entities it was finished and went online in June 2010.
Right now, the project captures and utilizes 1,300 standard cubic feet of landfill gas or methane per minute.
The energy it provides means a reduction in greenhouse gases equivalent to that produced by more than 28,000 passenger vehicles. It equals a reduction of carbon dioxide equal to the emissions from more than 357,000 barrels of consumed oil or the carbon sequestered by nearly 35,000 acres of pine or fir forest, according to Allied Waste Services.