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ANCHORAGE (AP) — The Anchorage Assembly approved funds to study how the city would build a waste-to-energy incineration plant to contend with its landfill limits, officials said.
The assembly approved $100,000 from its Solid Waste Services budget Tuesday to fund a plan to be completed in 90 days, The Anchorage Daily News reported Thursday.
The $300 million to $400 million plant would require seven to 10 years of work before opening, officials said.
The landfill in Eagle River has an estimated 42 operational years left, while an incineration plant would increase that lifespan to 177 years, Anchorage Solid Waste Services Manager Mark Spafford said.
Other options include sending trash north to the Matanuska-Susitna Valley or removing it by water using a barge, although neither are economically viable, Spafford said.
"We need to do whatever we can as a department to help extend the life of the landfill because once that landfill is gone, we don't have any good options left," Spafford said.
The study does not commit the city to building the plant, but would give officials a better idea of costs, time needed and benefits, Spafford said.
While burning the city's garbage, the plant would produce 20 to 30 megawatts of power at peak capacity. Anchorage now produces 7.2 MW from methane captured at the landfill, officials said.
The plant could also burn sludge from Anchorage Water & Wastewater Utility, eliminating the need for a new $100 million incinerator for the utility, Spafford said.
The assembly initially approved the feasibility study Nov. 19, but members on Tuesday questioned giving a sole-source contract to StreamlineAM LLC rather than using the city's standard bidding process.
Mayor Ethan Berkowitz tasked Spafford with launching the study as quickly as possible and StreamlineAM was the best company for the contract, Spafford said.