The Maryland Department of the Environment has made final determinations to issue permits for a proposed waste-to-energy facility in Frederick County. The Department is issuing permits and approvals that require the proposed facility to meet all applicable environmental laws and regulations for air emissions, water discharge and refuse disposal. The permits and approvals are effective February 21, 2014.
The permits and approvals are for the proposed Frederick/Carroll County Renewable Waste-to-Energy Facility to be located at 4549 Metropolitan Court, McKinney Industrial Park, in Frederick. The applicant is Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority. The operator is Wheelabrator Technologies, Inc. The proposed facility is designed to incinerate municipal solid waste, biosolids and scrap tires to meet the long-term solid waste disposal needs of Frederick and Carroll Counties and produce approximately 55 Megawatts gross/45 Megawatts net of electricity.
Under law, local jurisdictions are responsible for developing strategies to handle their solid waste. The location of any solid waste facility is a local land use consideration and is managed through local zoning and land use laws. Maryland law and regulation requires that MDE limit its review of permit and approval applications to the effect that a facility might have on the environment and public health. MDE’s technical analysis of the permit and approval applications has shown that the facility can be built and operated in a manner that is fully in compliance with Maryland law and regulation to protect public health and the environment. The air quality permits and approvals include requirements to limit and mitigate mercury emissions that are more stringent than what is required under state and federal law.
Environmental laws and regulations provide for public participation in the permit application process. MDE highly values public review and comment. The Department conducted a public hearing on the water discharge permit application and another public hearing on the air, water and refuse disposal permit and approval applications. Nearly 100 people testified at the hearings. The Department also received written comments from more than 1,800 individuals and several organizations. All comments were considered.
In response to some of the comments received, previously issued air quality and refuse disposal draft permits and approvals were modified before the final determination was made. Modifications include:
The majority of the comments received on the tentative determination for the wastewater discharge permit covered topics that did not relate to the permit, such as air quality, economic feasibility, alternative waste management strategies, truck traffic and aesthetics. A small fraction of comments addressed water quality and the efficacy of the proposed provisions of the wastewater discharge permit. In response to those comments, MDE has determined that issuance of the discharge permit as proposed in the tentative determination is appropriate.
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