Pollution-fighting upgrades at N.Va. facilities that convert waste into energy

Two facilities that convert waste to renewable energy in Fairfax County and Alexandria, Virginia, have received environmental upgrades that are helping cut emissions.

Covanta, the company that runs the facilities, announced the installation of the pollution-fighting technology in a news release earlier this week, saying it has helped cut nitrogen oxide emissions by nearly 50%.

The two Northern Virginia plants, known as waste-to-energy facilities, take non-hazardous household waste that would normally go to a landfill and burn it at high temperatures, creating steam used to power renewable electricity production.

The Fairfax County facility is located at its I-95 waste management complex in Lorton, and is one of the largest waste-to-energy facilities in the nation, according to the county.

“We are pleased with Covanta’s efforts to improve the emissions from the facility while simultaneously managing the waste our residents and businesses generate each year,” Eric Forbes, of Fairfax County’s Department of Public Works, said in a statement.

That facility produces 80 megawatts of renewable electricity — enough to power 67,000 homes for a year.

The Alexandria facility, which serves residents in Alexandria and Arlington County, processes and converts into energy more than 350,000 tons of waste that would otherwise end up in landfills.

The installation of the new nitrogen oxide-fighting technology “will even further reduce the emissions and improve air quality,” Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson said in a statement. “This is an important effort to support the City of Alexandria in reaching our Environmental Action Plan 2040 goals.”

The company said its technology to limit nitrogen oxide, known as Low NOx, is unique in the industry and demonstrates its commitment to research and development.

“Covanta is proud to manage our services and facilities in a way that prioritizes our communities, our businesses and our planet,” Covanta area asset manager Don Cammarata said in a statement. “Today marks an important step in our work with the community to reduce our environmental impact and improve air quality.”

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Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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