Landfill heat project explored

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Department of Solid Waste is proposing a waste heat alternatives project at the county landfill, in part because of decreasing quantities of available heating oil.

Department Director Jeff Bouchard told the Board of Supervisors’ Economic Development and Environment Committee on Tuesday he’s looking into new ways to heat buildings at the Mud Road landfll site.

Bouchard said the Department of Solid Waste currently has five waste oil furnaces. Two furnaces are used to heat the Administrative Building garage-maintenance area, and three furnaces heat the Recycling Facility on the site, he said.

He said used motor oil collected from county recycling programs feeds the furnaces, saving thousands of dollars in lieu of purchasing virgin heating oil.

But Bouchard said that as more area garages have installed waste oil furnaces to utilize this free source of fuel, quantities have decreased for his department. In the past 18 months, he said quantities have decreased from 9,000 to 5,000 gallons available for collection and use in landfill site furnaces.

During this 2013-14 heating season, Bouchard said he had to purchase more than $15,000 in heating oil.

He proposes the county convert the garage area to radiant heat, utilizing waste heat generated by the landfill’s gas-to-electric facility. He also proposed moving the two waste oil furnaces in the garage over to the Recycling Facility.

Bouchard said this would entail a glycol/antifreeze system circulated inside insulated pipes and the installation of overhead units. He said inhouse county staff is capable of installing necessary piping and trenching, and maintenance staff can handle installation of heaters.

Preliminary estimates are being obtained for a design/build blueprint with potential of future capacity, Bouchard said. He said early estimates show a three-year payback utilizing an existing heat source that is a byproduct of the gas-to-electric plant, which would reduce reliance on the dwindling supply of waste oil.

Bouchard said he doesn’t want to discuss potential costs at this time, but will at a future meeting.

“That’s what has to be sized,” he said Friday.

He anticipates completion of this project prior to the beginning of the next heating season.