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Groundwork laid for Entsorga bonds

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A new business venture in Berkeley County hopes to find a new use for garbage.

Entsorga West Virginia LLC soon will be the recipient of lease revenue bonds from the West Virginia Economic Development Authority, which approved a resolution during its May 16 meeting stating the intent of issuing bonds in the near future.

The business, which WVEDA Executive Director David Warner explained was a European technology that takes waste and separates steel, aluminum and glass, recycles certain types of biodegradable waste and converts it to an end product that can be used to make cement. He said Entsorga would be associated with Capitol Cement Corp. of Martinsburg.

"Later this year, hopefully we'll know more of how that's done," Warner said.

Entsorga filed a certificate of need with the Public Service Commission of West Virginia on June 13, 2012. That document listed the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority and its facility at 870 Grapevine Road as the facility, which would be leased to Entsorga. The application for certificate of need for a solid waste facility described the proposed facility as a "mechanical-biological treatment solid waste management facility."

According to its application, the facility would process municipal solid waste, and continue to collect it from residents' curbs. The waste then would be deposited into an indoor, aerated reception area where air is continuously drawn into the building, which would maintain a slight negative pressure "to avoid odor dispersion."

No combustion or incineration would be involved in the process, according to the application, and certain items such as hazardous waste and infectious medical waste would be accepted. A large mechanical drum would tear trash bags open, and large pieces of plastic, paper and cardboard waste would be separated and set aside for the "refining stage." The remaining waste, which would include organic waste, would go to the "bio stabilization area," and an air circulation system would create rapid composting for a break down of the waste, leaving a "dry, paper-like product" as a result.

The product then would be moved to the facility's refinement section where the large pieces of waste, such as plastic, paper and cardboard, would be brought back to the process. At that point, air separators, rotary screens and magnetic/infared technology would help to further separate any metals or PVC plastics that would still be among the waste. The product would be shredded into smaller pieces, creating the engineered product that could "augment or replace traditional fuels, such as coal and petroleum coke," according to the application.

The other residue, such as rock, dirt, glass and PVC pipe pulled out of the waste during the refining process would then be taken to authorized facilities for "conventional" recycling, reclamation or disposal.

"The facility is innovative and unique to West Virginia," the PSC application reads. "However, for purposes of West Virginia law and this application, the facility can be deemed a ‘resource recovery facility.'"

The total estimated cost for the facility's construction, as listed in the application to the PSC, was $19 million. A PSC hearing on the facility took place Feb. 1 in Martinsburg, and the PSC issued an order March 11 granting Entsorga its facility of need.

Warner said the WVEDA's movement at its June 16 meeting will allow Entsorga to come back and be reimbursed for the legal expenses it already has incurred and currently are incurring.