All of the household garbage collected in Lee and Hendry counties eventually ends up at the Lee County Resource Recovery Facility, also known as the Waste-To-Energy Plant.
At this facility's mass-burn combustion system, waste is combusted at temperatures above 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. The energy created during the combustion process is transformed into electricity. Once the waste is combusted, all that is left is an inert ash residue about 10 percent of its original volume. The Resource Recovery Facility is also equipped with an automated recovery system that efficiently removes ferrous and non-ferrous metals from the ash; the recovered material is recycled. This ash is then disposed of at the landfill in Hendry County.
Construction & Expansion
Commercial operation of the plant began on Dec. 1, 1994. Construction was completed two months ahead of schedule and $10 million under budget. In January 2006, construction began on a third combustion unit capable of processing 636 tons per day (tpd) of garbage. This expansion project was completed in the summer of 2007 with a first fire achieved on Aug. 18, 2007. The Waste-To-Energy facility can mass burn 1836 tpd of garbage and produce up to 53 gross megawatts of power, which is enough electricity to power the rough equivalent of all the homes in the city of Bonita Springs.
The Resource Recovery Plant is equipped with extensive air pollution control systems. It is the first operational plant in the United States to be built with a permanent activated carbon injection system for controlling mercury emissions. The environmental control systems were designed with the new, more stringent, Clean Air Act in mind, and emissions have met the proposed standards without any modification. Facility emissions are continuously monitored and strictly regulated by state and federal agencies.
All aspects of the plant are monitored from the central control room 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Awards & Recognitions
The Lee County Resource Recovery Facility is a sound, long-term, environmental and economic solution to solid waste disposal. It has won prestigious awards recognizing excellence in design, construction and operation of power generation systems throughout the world.
The Lee County facility also received the prestigious 1996 Environmental Citizen of the Year Award from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
For a complete listing of awards and facility recognition, please see Solid Waste Program Recognition and Awards.