The Prince William Board of County Supervisors (Va.) has approved the development of a facility to process yard waste, food scraps and wood waste at the county’s Balls Ford Road composting facility. The county’s agreement with Freestate Farms LLC is a public-private partnership. Freestate is an agricultural services and production firm in Hume, Va. The agreement calls for Freestate to construct and operate the facility. The firm will also provide organics waste management services at that site and at the county’s landfill. Go here for more details.

When fully developed, the Freestate facility will recycle over 80,000 tons per year of organic waste into compost, soil products, and non-synthetic fertilizers; it will also generate baseload renewable energy. Acreage at the facility will yield sustainable and locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables for sale back into the community.

The completion of the new facility is scheduled for July 2017. At that time, Freestate, in conjunction with its technology partners, will perform several new operations and double the throughput capacity of the current Balls Ford Road facility.  New processes/operations include:

--    Advanced Aerobic Composting of Yard Waste – A reversing aerated static pile composting system will process leaves, grass, and agricultural waste to produce high-quality nutrient-rich compost products.  Process odors will be captured and scrubbed through biofilters.


--    Anaerobic Digestion of Food Waste – A fully enclosed and airtight tank reactor will process food waste and other organic material (e.g., fats, oil and grease) into both nutrient-rich fertilizer products and biogas (methane) for use in renewable energy applications.


--    Combined Heat and Power Production – Raw biogas produced during the anaerobic digestion process will fuel a combined heat and power generator set to provide heat and power to the Balls Ford Road facility, with surplus renewable energy available for off-site uses, potentially including transportation fuel.

--    Greenhouse Operation - Freestate will construct and operate an integrated commercial-scale, controlled-environment agriculture greenhouse at the Balls Ford Road site to sustainably grow fresh local produce using the renewable energy, compost, and fertilizer products generated on-site.

The new Freestate facility will provide several benefits to the county, including:
♣    A long-term solution to yard and food waste management
♣    Foundation for developing a comprehensive county organic waste management program
♣    Increased organics processing capacity
♣    Waste diversion from landfill to extend landfill life (based upon the most recent county waste audit, approximately 30 percent of the waste entering the landfill is organic material that could be recycled)
♣    Increased county recycling rate
♣    Private investment in the community and 20-25 new jobs

Under the agreement, Freestate will process the organic material currently received at the Balls Ford Road and landfill facilities using existing processes beginning on July 1, 2015. There will be no interruption in current services because construction of the new facility will be phased in over a two-year period, which will allow sufficient space for the existing operations to continue. The term of the agreement is 20 years with the option to extend for two five-year periods.

In the video, Tom Smith, the solid waste division chief for Prince William County Public Works, discusses the new Freestate facility that will speed up the composting process.

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