Contact: Public Works Department - (573) 874-7250
COLUMBIA, MO (April 27, 2009) - The city of Columbia received official notification from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources of approval for a permit modification to operate its landfill as a bioreactor. Columbia is the first landfill in Missouri, and one of only 10 in the nation, to utilize bioreactor technology for the disposal of trash.
City Manager Bill Watkins said that of all the initiatives where the community has shown leadership, this is one of the most important. "This represents a united vision launched when citizens voted to make alternative energy an increasing part of our power supply. The City Council has consistently pushed staff to find new sources, and we did,” Watkins said.
Watkins praised staff in different city departments who studied available landfill-to-energy technology and identified legislative and regulatory changes needed to make it happen. "People in our Public Works and Water & Light departments worked hard to tie all this together. Citizens will feel well-served and, I hope, proud that Columbia is a center of innovation."
This system changes the method in which the city disposes of trash by switching from a dry tomb process to a bioreactor. Bioreactors are considered to be the “next generation” landfill.
“We are very excited about this project, and believe this cutting edge technology will transform the operation of landfills in the future. This project is just one small part of our renewable energy effort.” said Richard Wieman, manager of the Columbia Solid Waste Division.
Through the use of a bioreactor, the city will inject liquids into the waste to accelerate the bio-stabilization of waste, and produce methane at a higher rate for use as a renewable energy source. Working with the Columbia Water and Light Department, a new landfill gas-to-energy plant was brought on line in June 2008. This plant is generating electricity to power 1,000-1,200 homes. Utilizing bioreactor technology, the gas generation rate will increase by 35-50 percent over standard landfills, thus increasing the plant’s capacity to generate more electricity.
The bioreactor landfill is a controlled landfill, or landfill cell, where water and gas conditions are actively managed in order to accelerate or enhance bio-stabilization of the waste. The bioreactor landfill significantly increases the extent of organic waste decomposition, conversion rates and process effectiveness over what would otherwise occur with the landfill. It is estimated this will extend the life of the landfill by five years.
Senate Bill 54, signed in June 2007, allowed yard waste to be disposed of in a municipal solid waste disposal area when the Department of Natural Resources approves the operation of the disposal area as a bioreactor, and when the landfill gas will be used for electricity generation. Then Senator Chris Koster sponsored the Green Power Initiative, which encouraged electric companies to make a good-faith effort toward meeting renewable energy targets.
Since 2004, the Solid Waste Division has worked closely with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Columbia Water & Light, and Camp, Dresser & McKee Inc. consulting firm to make this project a reality. More information about the bioreactor can be obtained online at www.GoColumbiaMo.com (search: GoLandfill)