By Floyd Ingram/Chickasaw Journal
HOUSTON – A landfill in Chickasaw County soon will produce enough electricity to power 900 homes in the area.
Waste Management broke ground on a facility Thursday that will tap methane gas from its current Prairie Bluff Sanitary Landfill, a 500-acre site just north of Houston.
“This is a $1.2 million investment and we hope to have it on-line in late July or early August,” said Charlie Gardner, manager of Prairie Bluff for Waste Management. “We are glad to be bringing green power to the community we serve.”
City, county and Waste Management officials gathered Thursday to host an official groundbreaking for the facility. This is the second Waste Management facility in Mississippi to capture methane and use it to run a generator.
The process is rather simple.
Waste Management will collect garbage and continue to bury it at the Prairie Bluff. As the waste decomposes, it will produce methane gas. The gas will be pulled from the landfill through a series of wells and be pumped to a powerhouse where it will fire a reciprocating engine that will spin a generator.
Construction has started on the site, with KNK Construction of Houston doing the initial dirt work. Gardner said additional contractors will be hired to build the power facility.
“We expect to hire one additional employee to maintain and monitor the power generating facility,” said Gardner. “They will be added to the landfill’s current staff of nine employees.”
The facility will be engineered to produce up to 1.6 megawatts of electricity and be distributed by Natchez Trace Electric Power Association.
“Our role is to put up the poles and deliver the power to our customers,” said Shawn Edmondson, of Natchez Trace EPA. “Waste Management will produce the electricity and sell it to TVA, who turns it over to us.”
“The landfill dome will actually be placed under a vacuum to pull off the methane,” said Rene’ Faucheux, manager of community affairs for Waste Management. “The collection system has been in place for some time and we have just been burning if off with a flare. This investment will allow us to recycle that methane and produce power for this area.”