Power Plant Repairs Delayed; Waste Diversion and Landfilling Continue
Post Date:11/21/2019 11:30 AM
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Delays in receiving critical parts have stalled maintenance projects at the Ames Power Plant. Taking the Ames Power Plant offline has interrupted garbage processing at the Resource Recovery Plant (RRP), which serves as the trash processing system for Story County. For several weeks, waste haulers have been trucking municipal solid waste to local landfills rather than processing the garbage to produce fuel for the Power Plant. A revised schedule anticipates the Ames Power Plant to be operational by the end of December.
“It has always been our intention to get the Power Plant maintenance completed as quickly as possible and begin generating electricity using our waste-to-energy system,” said Ames Electric Services Director Donald Kom. “Unfortunately, our contractor has had several setbacks in getting needed materials, and that has put us behind schedule.”
While repairs continue, Story County residents are asked to take several steps to reduce the amount of garbage produced. Glass recycling bins are located at several grocery stores to collect food container glass like jelly, pickle and salsa jars. The new Food Waste Diversion (FWD) pilot project allows residents to purchase a bucket and punch card to dump food waste at RRP. Pumpkins, squash, and seasonal vegetables are being collected (at no charge) in bins north of Resource Recovery, 110 Center Ave., for composting. Additionally, during the Power Plant shutdown, residents can bring rinsed metal cans to RRP for recycling by driving through the car lane and handing the items to an employee.
“Residents have asked us what they can do to help during this situation, and we encourage them to take advantage of the diversion programs we have established,” said Resource Recovery Superintendent Bill Schmitt. “In addition to diverting glass, food, and metal, we always support being a careful consumer. The best thing all of us can do is to produce less garbage.”
Municipal solid waste from across Story County is hauled to the RRP tipping floor, and the separation process begins. Shredders grind the garbage before it passes under an electromagnet to remove ferrous metals, and an eddy current system to remove non-ferrous metals. The burnable garbage (RDF) is sent to the Ames Power Plant where it is co-fired with natural gas to produce electricity.
Repairs at the Ames Power Plant are focused on replacing existing boiler tubes with specially coated tubes to alleviate on-going maintenance issues and allow the Power Plant to resume electric production using RDF as fuel.