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City adopts plan to revamp waste operations
Original post made
on Jul 3, 2012
As Palo Alto prepares to dramatically overhaul how it handles its waste, city officials and residents remain at odds over the future of local composting and processing of food scraps and sewage sludge. The City Council adopted an "action plan" Monday night aimed at bringing the vexing question closer to a solution.
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posted Tuesday, July 3, 2012, 12:14 AM
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Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 6, 2012 at 5:18 am
Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.
@'common sense', you have a seriously mistaken assumption in your calculations: you assume a $133M CAPITAL cost, but this is one of the options' TOTAL cost over 20-years (Net Present Value). The $133M includes debt financing, operations, disposal of digested sewage, and revenue from sales of energy and non-sewage-based compost.
That $133M was for one of the more expensive options, because it was based on having two facilities: Wet AD for sewage and Dry AD for food, instead of an integrated facility.
If you look at the existing feasibility and report (Web Link) you could get answers to many of your questions and avoid drawing erroneous conclusions. (I had trouble downloading it tonight, but it could be my browser. If you have trouble, please let the city know and ask them to send you a copy.) (The study considered most realistic is 'Scenario 2, Simple DAD', but you need to get the version from 2012 which has important updates.)
The Request For Proposals (RFP) will ask vendors to give us their solutions for handling our food, yard, and sewage, the cost and financing options. The RFP will not pre-suppose specific solutions, so it could be 'haul it away', or local AD, or gasification, etc. There will be public meetings in the coming months for the public to weigh in on what criteria should be included in the RFP. The RFP will provide information needed to make an informed decision, but will not require the city to pursue any of the options: Council could decide to stick with the status quo of sending food and yard to compost in Southern Gilroy.
Here's how the 8 options in 'Scenario 2 Simple DAD' break down:
NPV total cost over 20-years, Year 1 $/Ton, Year 20 $/Ton:
Case 1a (Dry AD for Food, Yard, Sewage):
20-year NPV: $73M, Year 1: $87/Ton, Year 20: $53/Ton
Case 1b (Dry AD for Food, Yard; Wet AD Sewage @ landfill):
20-year NPV: $134M, Year 1: $157/Ton, Year 20: $102/Ton
Case 1c (Dry AD for Food, Yard; Wet AD Sewage @ sewage plant):
20-year NPV: $132M, Year 1: $156/Ton, Year 20: $101/Ton
Case 1d (Dry AD for Food, Yard; Incinerated Sewage):
20-year NPV: $143M, Year 1: $108/Ton, Year 20: $454/Ton
Alternative 2 (Food to San Jose Dry AD; Yard to Gilroy Compost; Incinerated Sewage):
20-year NPV: $135M, Year 1: $88/Ton, Year 20: $486/Ton
Alternative 3 (Food & Yard to Gilroy Compost; Incinerated Sewage):
20-year NPV: $130M, Year 1: $84/Ton, Year 20: $477/Ton
Alternative 2a (Food to San Jose Dry AD; Yard to Gilroy Compost; Wet AD Sewage):
20-year NPV: $117M, Year 1: $125/Ton, Year 20: $166/Ton
Alternative 3a (Food & Yard to Gilroy Compost; Wet AD Sewage):
20-year NPV: $113M, Year 1: $120/Ton, Year 20: $158/Ton
The integrated local solution (Case 1a) was projected to cost about $40M less than the Alternatives 2a/3a of doing Wet AD of sewage and sending yard and food "away". The study also had the capital costs for Wet and Dry AD is approximately the same, so I anticipate similar financial advantage when we get the RFP results for local energy/compost.
Notice that the options with continued sewage incineration are cheap at first due to the existing (aging) incinerator, then SUPER expensive at the end due to the high-cost of a new incinerator ($152M construction cost if built today). Wisely, Council voted Monday to pursue a policy of retiring the incinerator (and not replacing it with another incinerator).