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New incinerator off to good start

Here's an interior look at the new combustor equipment that was added to the waste-to-energy facility as part of the $19.4 million expansion.1 / 2
With three combustors now operating, the Pope Douglas Solid Waste Management facility is projected to handle the area's waste disposal needs through 2035.2 / 2

It's been about a month since officials at Pope Douglas Solid Waste Management (PDSWM) fired up their brand new trash-burning combustor.

Over the last year, a third combustor unit was constructed at the area's waste-to-energy facility in Alexandria.

"The throughput looked great and it's at the level it's supposed to be at," said Pete Olmscheid, executive director of PDSWM.

The garbage-burning plant was projected to hit its capacity for the amount of waste it can process as early as 2015.

Because more and more people are making more and more garbage and more haulers are bringing their trash to PDSWM, expansion was necessary, according to Olmscheid.

Now, by adding a third combustor, the facility can handle the area's waste disposal needs through 2035.

Adding the third combustor doubles the amount of waste that can be burned - from 120 tons of garbage per day to 240 tons.

The heat from all of that waste being burned will generate about 76,000 pounds of steam per hour.

The steam is sold to three nearby facilities - 3M, Douglas County Hospital and Alexandria Technical and Community College.

The third combustor project totaled $19.4 million.

However, that cost is not put on the counties' tax rolls; the project's bonds are paid by PDSWM from its revenue stream generated by tipping fees and steam and commodity sales.

Later this summer, Olmscheid said PDSWM will host an open house to provide the community an inside look at the facility.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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