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$62M project underway at York County Solid Waste
The York Solid Waste Authority's main facility in Manchester Township will be more efficient and more than double its size thanks to a massive construction project, an official said.
Officials with the authority and others on Wednesday ceremoniously broke ground for the $62 million project at the 26-year-old resource recovery center at 2651 Blackbridge Road.
The project will increase the facility's 22-acre footprint by 27.5 acres on 150 acres of land owned by the authority and will include numerous environmentally friendly aspects, said Dave Vollero, the authority's executive director.
All residential and commercial combustible trash from the county ends up at the site, where it is converted to electricity. The facility produces enough electricity to power 20,000 homes, he said.
"It's enough to light the city of York, basically," said Ellen O'Connor, the authority's spokeswoman.
Construction is expected to wrap up in about three years.
Going green: How that electricity is produced is one of the green aspects of the project.
Storm water from the facility's roof will be collected and directed to the cooling system used in energy production, Vollero said.
New, highly efficient lighting and pumps and motors that will run on natural gas instead of fuel oil will also be installed.
On Wednesday, a work crew was already out moving dirt near the main facility to pave the way for the site's new and larger recycling drop-off center and recycling building.
The majority of funding for the project will come from the authority's capital reserve fund, which is padded with tipping fees and from selling electricity back into the grid.
The remaining $10 million will come in the form of a bank loan. That means no tax dollars will be used, Vollero said.
Growing: Also as part of the project, the tipping hall, where trucks dump their loads, will be enlarged.
That will keep tractor-trailers separate from smaller trash trucks typically seen out collecting trash.
In keeping with the separation of large and small trucks, the driveway to the tipping hall will be reconfigured, relocated and lengthened. That should prevent trucks from parking along Blackbridge Road as they wait to dump their loads.
"That's our biggest concern — congestion," Vollero said. "We wanted to decrease congestion."
The entranceway also will include two sets of scales — two inbound and two outbound.
One set will be for smaller trucks and the other for tractor-trailers.
The highly used small load drop-off area, where residents drop off small loads, also will be enlarged to accommodate 19 vehicles at a time, up from six.
Visitors center: The facility's visitors center, the portion of the site mostly likely to be seen by the public, will also undergo a major revamp.
In 2014, the facility had 8,000 visitors, mostly children who visit during school tours or with Boy Scout or Girl Scout troops, O'Connor said.
The tour often ties in with what students are learning in school.
"We do a lot with the schools," she said. "Our waste (to) energy tour fits in well with the curriculum."
— Reach Greg Gross at email@example.com.