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Environmentalists cheer as Palo Alto retires incinerators

Original post made on Jun 7, 2019

On Wednesday, the city bid farewell to its incinerators and debuted a new facility where sludge from Palo Alto and surrounding areas gets treated and dumped into trucks that then ship it out of town for further treatment.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 5, 2019, 4:43 PM

Comments (9)

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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?


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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.


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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?


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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.


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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.


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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)?


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