SPSA ash heading to Suffolk

Published 9:27 am Friday, July 29, 2011

By Tracy Agnew/Suffolk News-Herald

SUFFOLK—Burned trash from a Portsmouth incinerator now will be dumped in the Suffolk landfill, the Southeastern Public Service Authority board decided this week.

The regional trash authority, which serves Western Tidewater, had been dumping the ash in the Virginia Beach landfill. The switch was motivated by the potential to save money, Executive Director Rowland “Bucky” Taylor said.

“If we don’t have to put waste in there, that’s several million dollars that we will likely not have to spend in the future,” Taylor said. “Hopefully, it will equate to a reduction or not as much increase in the tipping fee.”

Household waste from throughout the authority’s eight member communities — Suffolk, Franklin, Southampton County, Isle of Wight County, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach — is taken to the waste-to-energy plant in Portsmouth, owned by Wheelabrator Technologies. The trash is burned there, and the ash is hauled away.

Taking the ash to Virginia Beach meant the authority would have to help with closure costs when that landfill cell is full. If it doesn’t take anything there, it will have no obligation to help.

Taylor said the ash should not cause any problems in the Suffolk landfill. About 200,000 tons of ash a year will be brought to the landfill off U.S. Route 58 near Nansemond Parkway.

“It doesn’t take up a whole lot of space,” he said. He also said he is not aware of any odor caused by the ash.

“It just doesn’t have a lot of bad properties,” he said.

Most metals and other non-flammable material will be removed from the ash before it is dumped at the Suffolk landfill, Taylor added.