All of the waste produced in Minnesota’s Olmsted County that is not able to be reduced, reused, recycled, or composted is taken to the Olmsted Waste-to-Energy Facility. This operation is one of many within the County’s waste management network, and reduces the volume of general waste produced by the area by 90%. Neighboring facilities within the network serve to reduce this amount even further, and include a municipal recycling center, hazardous waste facility, and compost site.
Through the waste-to-energy process, both electricity and steam are created and directed to local buildings within the County’s ‘District Energy System’, including to local medical centers, the Rochester Public Library, and the Mayo Civic & Art Center.
As reported by the County, mixed garbage is sent to a combustion chamber within the facility, and after being fully processed, exits at 10% of its original volume, in the form of ash. Emissions from the process are heavily monitored and filtered in accordance with state and federal air emission standards. The final produced ash is then sent to a local landfill and ‘permanently stored in an environmentally protective holding cell’.
More information on the Olmsted County Facility and Waste Management Network: