June 25. 2008 9:00AM
Board OKs landfill gas project
By SETH STRATTON
A partnership between the county and a pair of companies to capture methane
gas emitting from the county landfill and convert it into energy will add
about $200,000 in revenues to the county's pocketbook each year and help
prevent greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.
The Davidson County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a 20-year contract
with North Carolina-based Enerdyne Power Systems and DTE Biomass Energy, a
utility headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Last fall, Bill Brinker, Enerdyne's president, proposed to build a methane
collection system at the Davidson County landfill consisting of several
vertical and horizontal methane-capturing wells about 70 feet down from the
surface of a 100-foot-deep landfill. The wells will collect methane, a
colorless, smokeless and odorless gas which is the main component of natural
gas and is produced when trash decomposes. The resulting reduction in methane
could help the county's poor air quality rating improve.
The county hired Richardson Smith Gardner & Associates, a Raleigh-based
engineering firm, to review proposals after a suggestion from Charlie
Brushwood, the county landfill director at a commissioners' meeting in
November. After tabulating the bids, Matt Lamb, a project manager with the
engineering firm, estimated the county's annual revenues from collecting the
gas to be $200,398 a year.
"That greatly exceeded my expectations," Commissioner Sam Watford said
about the estimated revenue to the county.
Brushwood said the collection system wouldn't interfere with any operations at
the landfill. Enerdyne and DTE Biomass Energy will be responsible for the
operations and maintenance of the collection system. The two companies have a
combined seven active landfill collection projects in the state, the closest
being in Winston-Salem.
According to its Web site, DTE's Winston-Salem facility produces 4.3 megawatts
of energy from 2.8 million cubic feet of landfill gas per day, enough to power
4,400 homes served by Duke Power, which purchases the electricity produced
from the landfill.
At the November meeting, Brinker said the system would cost about $1 million
to install and between $120,000 and $150,000 a year to operate and maintain.
Brushwood said the county adds about 100,000 tons of trash a year to the
landfill, about 350 to 400 tons a day. The county has accumulated more than
1.4 million tons of trash at the landfill.
In other news, commissioners:
• Recognized Elizabeth Candice Hester, a recent Western Carolina University
graduate, as the 74th recipient of the county's teaching scholarship award.
• Transferred more than $7 million from the general fund to the county's
capital reserve fund to reflect a 20 percent general fund balance in the
county's bank account. The $7 million will go toward different capital
• Approved several pyrotechnics permits for various fireworks shows planned
within the county during July and August. The board also authorized Lexington
and Thomasville to issue pyrotechnic permits within the two cities' corporate
• Adopted a resolution supporting a right-hand turn lane off West Lexington
Avenue Extension into the entrance of Ledford Middle School. Guy Cornman,
county planning director, told commissioners traffic backs up to the road's
intersection with N.C. Highway 109 during the beginning and end of each school
The N.C. Department of Transportation has secured $182,000 toward the cost of
the project, and N.C. DOT Division 9 Engineer Pat Ivey plans to take the
request to the state transportation board at its July 9 meeting. A gravel
right-hand-turn lane was recently added, but a paved lane should be in place
before the 2008-09 school year begins.
• Set a public hearing to modify the conditional use-rural commercial district
for an auto crushing and metal recycling facility owned by David and Margaret
Pugh off Bud Sink Road. The hearing is set for the commissioners' Sept. 8
meeting, which begins at 7 p.m.
The property has been the center of complaints ranging from traffic congestion
and noise to increased littering on the road in the past several months. The
Pughs have been working with the N.C. DOT for a new traffic pattern. The
existing conditional use permit will need to be amended to include a larger
commercial district to accommodate the new traffic pattern.
Three other property rezonings in Arcadia and Conrad Hill townships are set
for the commissioners' Aug. 4 meeting, which also will begin at 7 p.m.
• Approved the purchase of one acre from the Reece family for a new emergency
services base off Georgetown Road next to the existing Wallburg Fire
Department for a total of $90,000.
• Awarded bids to Bar Construction Co. with a total project budget of more
than $3.2 million for classroom additions at East Davidson High School, and to
Jarrell Contractors with a total project budget of more than $4.2 million for
an addition to E. Lawson Brown Middle School. The two projects are the last
two scheduled improvements for the Davidson County Schools paid out of the
2005 school bond funds.
• Designated Watford as the county's voting delegate to the National
Association of Counties annual conference next month in Kansas City, Mo.
• Agreed to receive a grant from the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund in
the amount of $10,000 on behalf of the Handy Sanitary District for the design
and permitting of a small sewer project.
• Re-appointed Watford to serve an additional three-year term on the county
Department of Social Services board; re-appointed Dr. Peter Rogaski and
Dr. Mark Davis to the county Board of Health and Lt. Ray Widener with the
Thomasville Police Department, Tim Tilley, a clinical supervisor with Family
Services of Davidson County, and Capt. Tony Roberson of the Davidson County
Sheriff's Office to the Community Child Protection Team.
• Scheduled a public hearing for the Davidson County Transportation
Department's 2008-09 Rural Operating Assistance Program grant application at
the commissioners' Aug. 12 meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.
• Postponed a sewer rate increase planned to take affect next month. Watford
and the other commissioners unanimously agreed to analyze a base fee the
county was going to implement for its few hundred sewer customers to help
offset costs. Watford was concerned that customers would be paying a fee on
top of their monthly water and sewer usage.
The county commissioners will not meet in July. Their next scheduled meeting
is a public hearing on Aug. 4 at 7 p.m.
Seth Stratton can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 226, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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