Thursday, July 31, 2008

Facility fire handled safely, plant running normally

As was reported in the media yesterday, there was a minor fire at CRRA’s Mid-Connecticut Project trash-to-energy plant in Hartford.

Here is a full report on the incident:

At about 4:15 a.m. on July 30 a fire broke out in the scrubber atomizer housing associated with Boiler 13. The boiler is one of three located in the plant’s power-generation building (the other building is the waste processing facility, where trash is turned into the fuel used to generate electricity). Each boiler is serviced by a scrubber which cleans pollutants from the boiler’s emissions before they go to the smoke stack. As a result of our control systems, emissions from all of our trash-to-energy plants consistently are cleaner than state air-quality standards require.

The scrubber atomizer is used to spray a lime slurry into the flue gas stream to neutralize the acid gases generated during the trash-to-energy process. Wednesday’s fire occurred in a housing above the scrubber unit. The fire did not occur within the pollution control treatment train and did not enter the flue gas stream or the smoke stack.

Employees of Covanta Energy, which operates the plant for CRRA, called the Hartford Fire Department because of the smoke caused by the smoldering fire. The fire was out within two ours, and firefighters left the site at about 10:45 a.m. Covanta's safety procedures worked perfectly, no employees were injured and there was no need to evacuate the building.

The fire was caused by lubricating oil that had leaked into insulation in the housing above the scrubber atomizer unit. The atomizer has associated with it an ancillary piece of equipment – a gearbox – that operates the atomizer. The gearbox is located in a plenum above the scrubber unit. The gearbox is lubricated with oil, some of which leaked from the gearbox and migrated into the insulation. The oil eventually ignited as surfaces in the housing directly above the scrubber atomizer unit reach temperatures of 300 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

This incident did not interrupt facility operations. The trash kept moving, and the other two boilers continued to generate electricity. Boiler 13 was returned to service at 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, meaning it was out of service for less than 18 hours.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Does your school recycle?

Meet CRRABlog’s friend Marion.

She stopped by the other day to show us something interesting. She had pulled together all the work her nine-year-old third-grader had brought home from school this past year. Before she recycled it, she put the pile on a scale, and it weighed 17 pounds!

This got both of us thinking: how many schools have recycling programs? How many schools have recycling bins in their classrooms and cafeterias? How many of those bins are actually used? Using 17 pounds per pupil, a K-6 elementary school with 20 children in each class and three classes of each grade should be recycling three and a half tons of paper each year!

Does your school have a recycling program? We’d like to hear if it does – or doesn’t! And if the answer is “no,” maybe CRRA can help. Our education staff is ready to work with schools to help kick-start their recycling programs. Contact the Garbage Museum in Stratford or the Trash Museum in Hartford to find out more.

Monday, July 7, 2008

From across the pond

Came across an interesting story in The Sun, a London tabloid.

The headline: 'Green rage' is hitting Brits

Here's a sampling: A survey of 2,046 adults across the UK revealed people are so environmentally-conscious that one in three has been put off a friend, partner or colleague due to poor eco habits.

How long do you think it'll be until stories like this start popping up in the United States?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Closing the Hartford landfill

These aerial photographs of the Hartford landfill offer a bird’s-eye view of closure activities there. Above, seven acres of the Hartford landfill ash area are seen at lower right. The black area is the plastic geomembrane, the orange area is drainage geocomposite, the tan area is drainage sand, the white stripe herringbone pattern is drainage pipe and the reddish color is cover soil. Below, 10 acres of the main landform are also being closed as seen lower right. The tan area on top of the black plastic is drainage sand and the white stripes are drainage pipes.

CRRA has begun closing the Hartford landfill.

Taking advantage of the fact that most of the landfill has already been filled to capacity with ash from the Mid-Connecticut Project trash-to-energy plant and stuff that can't be turned into electricity, two capping projects are under way. In fact, by next June CRRA expects to have capped 52 of the landfill's 96 acres.

In 2007, CRRA contracted with ET&L Corporation of Stow, Mass., to close the western half (approximately seven acres) of the 16-acre lined ash area. Plastic geomembrane installation is complete in the area and soil deployment is ongoing. The project is expected to reach substantial completion by August.

Also in 2007, CRRA contracted with R. Bates & Sons, Inc., of Clinton, Mass., to close approximately 45 acres (the south and west sides) of the 80-acre main landform and build a new access road on the landfill.

Plastic geomembrane installation is complete over approximately 11 acres in the southeast corner of the site. The contractor has begun deploying cover soils above the membrane and will soon begin placing and compacting approximately 44,000 cubic yards of soil necessary for the new access road. Once the new road is built, the contractor will begin capping the west side (the side facing Route 91) of the landfill.

Capping of all 45 acres is expected to be substantially complete by June 2009.

Closure of these 52 acres will require the importation of approximately 210,000 cubic yards of soil material. Closure of the remaining 44 acres of the landfill is scheduled to occur in 2009 and 2010.