Columbia Could Get Bioreactor
The city hopes the bioreactor will reduce waste and save money. Now, Columbia buries trash in a dry landfill where waste slowly decomposes. But, a bioreactor would pump water underneath the landfill to recirculate wastewater and decompose trash more quickly. It will also create more natural gas for the city to use.
"We'll probably be generating more electricity because of the added gas that it's going to generate from the landfill," explained Jay Hasheider, energy services supervisor. "Our production of electricity would be larger than it otherwise would be."
The city's Water and Light Department will buy the additional power.
"Well, it's just the current technology that has come around in the last 10-20 years in the landfill industry," added Cynthia Mitchell, landfill and recovery superintendent. "And, actually, the EPA program has about 20 or so landfills nationwide that are like experimental bioreactors that they have been studying for several years."
City officials say they're taking precautions to protect groundwater and pipe gas to the right areas. The bioreactor will decompose waste in years instead of decades like conventional landfills. The Department of Natural Resources will review the city's plan and, if it approves, the bioreactor could be ready by 2007.