Landfill gets updates on what action to take next

ATLANTA – The Montmorency-Oscoda-Alpena Solid Waste Management Authority received its monthly update on the progress of Recovered Energy Resources toward constructing a gasification plant at the landfill.

Brad Schneider, president of RER, told the commissioners the company had a meeting with the air and solid waste divisions of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and explained the department is to begin moving forward with the project and that obtaining an air quality permit should not be difficult. He said getting the needed permit for the solid waste also should be obtainable, but some action is needed before the DEQ will grant its request.

Schneider said the solid waste plan currently in place for Montmorency County and Oscoda County needs to be amended to include green energy ventures and initiatives. Alpena County does not need to amend its plan because it became a partner at the landfill after the other two counties and when the plan was drafted it included the articles the DEQ wants. Schneider said there will need to be public hearings and a comment period before the permits can be issued and because of some of the logistics involved he think construction can begin this summer.

“We walked them through the whole project, the plant, the technology and basically got a really good round of support,” Schneider said. “The air people said it looked good to them and it was nothing they haven’t seen before. It could take as long as six months to get the solid waste permit, after the county’s plans are amended, so that puts our window to about July.”

Schneider said besides complying with state regulations, work also must be done to ensure environmental rules enacted by the policy makers in Washington are met as well.

“We are also going through and looking at the federal statutes that we have to meet, or may not be required to meet,” Schneider said. “I gave our engineering firm some technical information and they are using that in the review process. Once the review is done and we know exactly what it is we are going to have to look at, then we’ll begin preparing the formal permit application.”

Schneider said RER is close to having its engineers do a design of the plant and hopes to have a mock-up of the facility available for the commissioners to view in the next two months.

In other business:

  • the board voted to elect Alpena County Commissioner Lyle VanWormer as the authority’s chairman. Montmorency County’s Bert LaFleche will be vice chair and Jack Kischnick of Oscoda will be secretary/treasurer.
  • the board named The Alpena News, The Montmorency County Tribune and the Oscoda County Herald as the landfill’s publications of record and Sandy Cunningham will continue on as the landfill’s executive secretary.
  • the commissioners voted to increase the price of milage from 50 cents to 55 cents. The other per diem will remain unchanged. Meetings are $60 and $30 a day for meals when conducting business out of the area.
  • LaFleche, Cam Habermehl and Kischnick will be on the finance committee, while VanWormer, Larry Wilson and Stacy Carroll will be on the personnel committee.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at or by phone at 358-5689.