Environmentalists cheer as Palo Alto retires incinerators | June 7, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - June 7, 2019

Environmentalists cheer as Palo Alto retires incinerators

City makes the switch from burning sludge to shipping and treating it

by Gennady Sheyner

Palo Alto's leading environmentalists and elected officials rallied on Wednesday morning for a highly unusual event: the construction of a concrete industrial building next to the Baylands.

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Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at Gsheyner@paweekly.com.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 7, 2019 at 4:16 pm

That incinerator had architectural merit. It's replacement has all the design verve of a Soviet-era dewatering plant.


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 10, 2019 at 12:14 pm

Have our local authorities looked at the full picture of energy invested in disposing of the sludge? This would include the electrical energy to run the de-watering process, the fuel to truck the sludge, additional energy inputs to process and distribute the sludge.


Like this comment
Posted by file under 'D'
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 10, 2019 at 12:49 pm

> Have our local authorities looked at the full picture of energy invested in disposing of the sludge?

Yes.


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 10, 2019 at 6:04 pm

Where can this energy expenditure data be found? Also, has the toxics burden of the sludge been considered? Will it be spread on agricultural land?


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 12, 2019 at 11:35 am

Since we are trucking our sludge to Synagro, which is controversial among the organic farming communities, are we willing to spread Synagro on our own park and school lawns? I just feel like we have taken the path of exporting our problems to someone else.


Like this comment
Posted by file under 'D'
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 12, 2019 at 12:10 pm

> controversial among the organic farming communities

Controversial? It's not considered 'organic'. No controversy about that. Am I missing something?

Or are you positing PA park/school care should be non-toxic, certified organic only?


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 12, 2019 at 1:06 pm

Synagro markets itself as organic, but organic farmers refuse to use it, and they resist its use near their properties (odor, leaching into streams). Yes, the build up of toxics is a concern. In order to overcome public resistance to human sewage sludge as a fertilizer, a contest was held to call it something else...the winner was "biosolids".

Instead of exporting our (literal) crap onto others, why don't we act locally to solve the problem? Wasn't that the original idea? I personally would like to truck it to a regional refuse station and mixed with plastics and other garbage and subjected to gasification to produce net electricity.


Like this comment
Posted by file under 'D'
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 12, 2019 at 1:17 pm

Synagro tries to blur the lines, frequently (honestly) using the word 'organic' in proper context ("Synagro recycled fertilizer compost replenishes organic matter...") but as I see it, never fully claims that it is what is traditionally thought of as a 'certified' organic product.

The 'blurry' claims: "Synagro’s organic recycled fertilizer pellets..."

Uh, no.

I don't see the advantages of gasification over eventual composting.


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 12, 2019 at 1:52 pm

Gasification destroys the organic toxins; inorganics (e.g. heavy metals) are isolated and embedded into slag. It allows a solution to sludge, plastics, tires, landfill, etc. And it produces net electricity.

Palo Alto was embarrassed about using natural gas to combust our sludge. Shouldn't it also be embarrassed about dumping our problem on others (usually in less privileged areas)?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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