City of Charleston Cashing in on Its Trash

By: Kallie Cart Email
By: Kallie Cart Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The city of Charleston is finding out there's treasure in trash.

It's already cashing in on a project to produce energy from the city's landfill and received its first check Monday. It was in the amount of $4,000, but they expect to collect nearly $150,000 each year.

It's all from the Landfill to Energy Project, which is funded completely with private dollars. Entrepreneur Tom Loehr pitched the idea in 2008, knowing that underneath thousands of pounds of trash in the city landfill lived an energy goldmine filled with methane -- methane that can be transformed into electricity.

The project is nearing completion. Workers are still updating the electrical lines that will carry the power out of the landfill. The plant itself needs a few more final touches.

Once they flip the switch, however, the landfill will produce enough electricity to power more than 2,000 thousand homes and become the first of its kind in the state.

Loehr and his partners in the project have invested nearly $6 million. They still don't have a buyer for the electricity, but since its green, they don't expect there will be any problem selling it.

It is estimated the gas to electricity program will be like taking 15,000 cars off the road.

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