Nov 15, 2010

Allentown's Sewage Vision


Allentown's Mayor Pawlowski has a new vision for Allentown; mixing our trash and sewage together to make energy. Yesterday's paper had a long article on the power brokering involved in this trash to energy proposal. A facility would be built next to the sewage plant on Kline's Island. Sewage sludge would be mixed with trash and burnt to produce electricity. This particular mixture and process has never been tried before, lucky Allentown. The principals in the project are counting on Governor Rendell's appointee's to approve a $32 million dollar bond for the project, on their way out the door, before year's end. What doesn't smell about this vision?

UPDATE: Allentown should be concentrating on upgrading the LCA sewage line along the Little Lehigh, which periodically spills raw sewage into our creek and water supply. Also periodically, the sewage plant must bypass raw sewage into the Lehigh River. It is inappropriate to be promoting a private for profit company, with unproven technology, instead of fixing long existing problems.


related post by Bernie O'Hare

14 comments:

gary ledebur said...

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”
---------------Jonathan Swift

Anonymous said...

"Burnt to produce energy."
What about polluted air, water, and cancer risks to Allentown residents or doesn't that matter to Pawlowski.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday my friend and I were fishing in the little Lehigh in the area of the Sewage overflows, there was some guys playing Frisbee golf along the stream and the stench of raw sewage was powerful from the stone arch bridge to the confluence with the Cedar creek. This is Unacceptable and a Damn disgrace.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 10:46, as you may know, that's only about a quarter mile upstream from the drinking water plant intake pipes.

Jon Geeting said...

If we can get energy from poop and trash, that's awesome. Why would you want to try that? Somebody has to be the first to try it. It's certainly better than sending it to a landfill. Plus, if they're making money off of it, you better believe they're going to want whatever poop is leaking into the Little Lehigh.

Anonymous said...

Its never been used in the US before, but this is a proven technology in use in Europe. Not disagreeing with the ultimate point of your post re: priorities, just clarifying on this point.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 12:15, i know trash to energy is used in europe, do they also mix it with sewage sludge?

my cynical side thinks this outfit may want to take advantage of the "green" movement easy money, and make a few million off the $32 million construction grant. surely allentown would be better off with a wait and see approach.

Anonymous said...

I can see another slew of rules, ordinances, and CITATIONS coming at us.
Being first at anything, exposes us all to unknown hazards, expenses, and liability.
Let folks with disposable money attempt to install and operate unproven systems.
Who is the contractor slated to be? Maybe, like the parking authority, some upper manager will start a NEW company to suck handsome booty from a sinking ship.
One more bad idea.

Anonymous said...

There are companies that do both landfill-waste conversion and also "Biogas" (read: sewage).

Anonymous said...

Please. What has Pawlowski done that has been ultimately successful for Allentown?

This is just another political posturing move by his honor so he has some place to go after Allentown seek protection under act 47 or what ever bankruptcy act it is.

Damn where is Roy Afflerbach when you need him?

Anonymous said...

So Allentown should focus on updating infrastructure to service the townships? No thanks.

This will reduce electricity costs for the city. I'm all for that first, even if I never see it.

Chris Casey said...

Geeting, what you are saying is so stupid, I am in awe.
Columbus Ohio built a trash burning power plant on the Sciota river south of Columbus in the 1970's.
The Republican mayor convinced voters to okay a $150 million dollar bond to build this technological, ecologically friendly marvel.
Guess what happened? It worked to the extent that it provided power, but it got to the point that it lost so much money they sold it to a private outfit.
A few years ago they closed it up and DEMOLITIONED The place.

All that money and effort thrown away.

It's a great concept and theory, too bad it doesn't work in practice.

Among the many lovely conditions the plant created was something locals referred to as the "South Side Smell."

Wait a minute, now that I think about it, a trash burning garbage plant seems a perfect fit for Allentown. It should have a smell befitting its administration.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 8:16, although allentown never raked up the feces in lehigh parkway, they did run lawn mowers over it right before the women's breast cancer run/walk. five thousand women stood, stretched, and walked unknowingly in that sewage. the burn plant will pay for the electric costs of the sewer plant, no big deal.

Anonymous said...

Blogger michael molovinsky said...

anon 8:16, although allentown never raked up the feces in lehigh parkway, they did run lawn mowers over it right before the women's breast cancer run/walk. five thousand women stood, stretched, and walked unknowingly in that sewage. the burn plant will pay for the electric costs of the sewer plant, no big deal.

November 16, 2010 8:38 AM

Dear Mr. Molovinsky,

Since you introduced this delightful conversational tidbit, we'll add to it. A few weeks ago a hired crew installed a Lights in the Parkway holiday display directly atop that recently blown feces filled manhole near the Robin Hood bridge in Lehigh Parkway. Imagine being those guys standing atop lime, feces, and mush, installing holiday lights.