Launch Slideshow

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Smart Gamble

Smart Gamble

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    The grapple operator first mixes the material by redistributing the garbage evenly. Once the mixture is optimal for combustion, a claw picks it up and drops it into the furnace feed hopper. This grapple moves about 8,000 pounds/lift.

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    The boiler steam drum is suspended from steel hangers about 100 feet above the facility floor. Photos: Lee County Solid Waste Division

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    Once the high-pressure steam has passed through the turbine generating electric energy, the remaining low-pressure steam is condensed to water and recirculated through the boiler.

The general contractor work scope, performed by Casey Industrial Inc., included all foundation work and concrete supply, pilings (where deep foundations were required), structural steel beyond the boiler and APC limits, certain ancillary electrical systems, piping, valves, miscellaneous instruments and controls, and commissioning services.

Following receipt of bids, Burns & Rose and the county negotiated terms and conditions for purchases, and purchase orders were executed by the county.

During the early stages of project development, an interim agreement set forth general principals for going forward. It covered terms of procurement of the Martin stoker equipment, its guarantees and warrantees, and general principals regarding each party's responsibilities during the engineering and design phase of the project.

Subsequently, two additional agreements were negotiated with Covanta covering interim operations of the expansion in addition to project oversight during construction and start up. Upon acceptance of the expansion project, a new operating and maintenance (O&M) agreement would take effect, covering the entire expanded facility.

Under those agreements, Covanta was paid on a fixed-fee basis for project oversight as well as a fee per ton for operations.

Responsibility for compliance with specific environmental performance requirements, including acid gas emissions (HCl and SO2), particulates, dioxins, furans, mercury, carbon monoxide, and CO was specified to lie with respective equipment supplier contracts and guarantees (principally for the air pollution control contract) and the stoker contract. Failure to pass any acceptance testing would lie with the equipment supplier unless it was determined to be Covanta's fault in executing its project oversight responsibilities.

Despite Covanta's bankruptcy problems, the division got the project started in 2004. The expansion began operating in August 2007 with electric synchronization just 11 days later. The combustion unit and air pollution control systems passed full performance and emission testing requirements in November 2007 and continue to operate cleanly and efficiently.

— Sampson is the director of the Lee County Solid Waste Division in Florida.