Friday, September 22, 2006

A number of people have a right to be proud of the progress made toward converting non-recyclable solid waste at the Cherokee County landfill into fuel pellets.

This week's commitment by the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors to stand behind a general obligation bond for the $3 million project allows the plan to go to the final phases before construction begins this fall.

The idea makes sense for a variety of reasons. The fuel pellets are fairly clean burning, much cleaner than coal. The process converts a liability into an asset.

The sale of the fuel is expected to pay off the cost of the equipment within 10 years with continued revenue going well beyond future depreciation and maintenance costs.

Perhaps an even larger benefit is the reduction of material that is put in the landfill. At least 3/4 of the material that is now landfilled will be converted to fuel.

The staff of the landfill, including manager Don Pitts; the Cherokee County Solid Waste Commission, including commission chair Ken Slater; Lundell Enterprises, Inc., including senior project engineer Mike Brooks; are to be commended for their work.

A large factor in ensuring the viability of the project is the commitment of Soy Energy, LLO, to use the fuel pellets in the Cherokee County plant that will be producing bio-diesel as early as next July.

The Cherokee Mental Health Institute also plans on using the fuel pellets.

This kind of cooperation between industry and public entities represents an ideal model of creative solutions to the challenges of rural areas.

To all involved, thank you.