Trash is a valuable Dougherty County resource - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Trash is a valuable Dougherty County resource

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May 29, 2008

Dougherty County--Did you know you create about 4.5-pounds of trash per day?

That really adds up in landfills.

Methane gas is naturally generated from decomposing waste, after it has been dumped, compacted and in that oxygen free environment the trash breaks down creating methane.

And in the future that gas could mean more revenue for the county.

The trash is something few of us think of once it's out the door.

But Dougherty County is looking into the possibility of using it, or rather what's generated from it, to bring in much needed revenue.

Landfills create landfill gas, which is comprised mostly of methane.

"It starts to decompose, and landfill gas is generated, about forty to fifty percent of Landfill gas is methane the remainder is carbon dioxide," said Mike McCoy, Landfill Director.

Right now, the Dougherty County landfill flares the gas, the traditional way of disposing of it, but that pollutes the atmosphere.

Instead of being burned off it could be captured compacted and used for energy.

"Landfill gas can be extracted and used to generate electricity or to be used directly in boilers," said McCoy.  

Selling the gas could bring in money for the county.

"I mean that methane we're burning it, if we could sell it then it just gives us another income stream and possibly reduce taxes, one day," said Art Searles, County Commissioner.

Through a series of extraction wells in the ground the gas is extracted and as of now it is all disposed of.

"That's landfill it's our only enterprise to start with and I don't know if people understand that it's self sustaining," Said Searles.

McCoy says there are opportunities here in Albany to use the gas, and they looking for potential customers.

"All we need now is the technology, the marine base is right across the street, the could probably use it, and if they're willing to buy it from us we'll certainly sell it to them," said Searles.

It's not a possibility everywhere but the economical feasibility of a gas to energy project could be a reality in Dougherty County.

Counties like Dekalb County are selling their power to Georgia Power to create electricity.

A Landfill in LaGrange sells gas to a local company to power their facility.

About 500 landfills nationwide that turn their gas into energy.


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