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Measure E - Next Steps

Original post made by Matthew Harris on Mar 29, 2012

I had a professor who told he that escaped the family farm and went off to college because he could not stand inspecting eggs and the other tasks associated with chicken farming. I suspect that big city life is somewhat similar for many of us. We don't mind delegating some of the dirtier jobs of life to others. For instance, waste disposal and sewage sanitation. How many of us have a burning desire to be informed about municipal waste engineering?

Hence the problem with Measure E succeeding in last November's election. You perhaps voted Yes on E because you objected to the alternative plan which was trucking all our garbage to Gilroy and that just did not seem like the right thing to do. I agree. But now what? What do we need to know about municipal waste management in order to proceed? Maybe it is possible to simplify this issue.

Here's the one thing you need to understand: similar to some of those long lost farming operations, there is money in that poop! The basic farming analogy is that you can burn cow manure to heat a small farmhouse. And that is essentially what Palo Alto needs to do with its organic waste stream. Burn it! Yes, I am talking about technologies such as anaerobic digesters. The concept underlying the technology is fairly summarized as a process that converts organic waste into methane gas which is then combusted and the energy captured as useful mechanical energy. How am I doing? Have I succeeded in simplifying the world of municipal waste engineering a bit?

Comments (1)

Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 30, 2012 at 8:34 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

But think of the alternative - an industrial sized methane plant down near Gilroy, with railroad access, accepting the waste from all the South Bay. Or would you prefer an industrial site in the baylands?

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