NEWTON Harvey County has plans for burning its trash to make electricity.
The Harvey County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday authorized the creation of a formal agreement between the county and Quality Recycling Inc. of North Carolina. The agreement calls for a new plant that could reduce the potential for groundwater contamination and put trash to use, Commissioner Marge Roberson said.
"There are a lot of benefits in going with something like this," she said. "It's more than just money; it's doing the right thing."
Financial details of the waste-to-energy plant deal were not available Tuesday, but Roberson said the county likely will need to raise trash fees "just a little bit more."
As a demonstration plant, the facility would have to be open for inspection to other interested communities.
The county has hired an engineering firm to study Quality Recycling's test plant in Tennessee, which recently issued a report saying it was a technologically and financially sound model, County Administrator Craig Simons said.
If the plant goes into operation, the county expects to reduce its trash 80 percent by weight and 90 percent by volume, Simons said.
The county needs a state permit before the plant can be built.
"This is a first step," Simons said. "There's many approvals and things that have to happen before it can come to reality."
The new plant will be built at the county's transfer station near Newton. From that station, trash currently is taken to a Reno County landfill.
After the plant is built, metals, glass and electronics will be removed from trash at the transfer station and recycled. Hazardous materials will be sent to a solid-waste site.
The remaining material will be burned to produce power that can be sold to the electrical grid or to an industrial customer.