Sunday, February 25, 2018
News Roundup

Pasco extends contract with operator of trash incinerator

NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco commissioners on Tuesday voted to keep the operator of the county's trash-to-energy plant on the job at least until the end of 2024, effectively ending debate about whether to pursue a landfill in Dade City or elsewhere in the county.

Commissioners voted 5-0 to extend the contract with Covanta Pasco Inc. Its agreement to run the Shady Hills plant was set to expire in May 2016.

"This absolutely makes a commitment by the board to an alternative to the landfilling of waste," County Commissioner Ted Schrader said in an interview.

New Jersey-based Covanta has run the plant since it launched in 1991. But seven years ago, a debate erupted about whether to send trash to a landfill to save money and address potential capacity issues at Shady Hills when Angelo's Aggregate Materials proposed building a household garbage landfill near Dade City.

The plan sparked arguments from the start. Local residents worried the facility would lead to sinkholes and cause contaminants to seep into the aquifer.

State regulators weighed in several times about whether to grant environmental permits, noting the site's proximity to the Green Swamp.

In late June, an administrative law judge ruled against an environmental permit sought by Angelo's because the company could not assure that the facility would not pollute the environment. In September, the state's Department of Environmental Protection affirmed the judge's decision and denied the permit application.

The commission's action on Tuesday further closed debate about landfills — at least the notion of the county sending trash there.

Pasco's solid waste director, John Power, said a landfill isn't necessary because of upgrades at the Shady Hills energy plant that addressed capacity issues.

"We haven't used a landfill in four years," he said, adding that one won't be necessary in the future. "We have enough capacity."

The new agreement with Covanta also will enable the company to make upgrades to address future air quality standards.

Utilities Director Bruce Kennedy said the company is planning about $13 million in improvements to improve the quality of emissions from the plant's incinerator. Specifically, the changes will result in lower nitrogen oxide levels.

"That equipment is getting kind of old," he said.

To pay for the upgrades, the county has agreed to adjust its revenue-sharing agreement with Covanta, which will handle the work.

The company currently receives 10 percent of the revenue generated from the sale of electricity generated by the plant. The county will increase that share to 14 percent.

The basic rate charged to Pasco residents for trash disposal will stay the same — $62 per year.

"This contract will allow for an operations upgrade … that will result in the facility being more environmentally friendly," Kennedy said.

Comments
Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

LARGO — A 60-year-old man who police said was the driver in a fatal pedestrian hit-and-run on East Bay Drive from three days prior was arrested by Largo Police on Saturday, the department said.Victor Bonavita was arrested on three charges in relation...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

TAMPA — Officials reopened roads near Citrus Park Mall Saturday evening that had been closed in the afternoon for a natural gas leak caused by a car crash, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said. The Sheriff’s Office and Hillsborough County Fi...
Updated: 9 hours ago

boca ratonState lawmakerencourages Scott to remove sheriffA lawmaker is calling on Florida Gov. Rick Scott to remove Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel from office after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In a letter sent to ...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Two airlinescut ties withNRA aftershootings

The National Rifle Association lashed out at corporations rushing to abandon it on Saturday, as companies from United Airlines to Best Western have cut ties with the gun lobby organization.Without context, twin announcements from Delta and United air...
Updated: 10 hours ago

‘Up to States’ to armteachers, Trump tweets

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump appeared Saturday to begin refining his proposals for combatting school violence, tweeting that arming teachers as a deterrent against such often deadly violence — an idea he championed in recent days — is "Up to S...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Security Council demands30-day cease-fire in Syria

Security Council demands30-day cease-fire in Syria

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Saturday demanding a 30-day cease-fire across Syria "without delay" to deliver humanitarian aid to millions and evacuate the critically ill and wounded. U.N. humanitarian ch...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Updated: 11 hours ago
Call her more than just a survivor

Call her more than just a survivor

TAMPA — On the quiet morning of Oct. 8, 2011, a 30-ton freight truck ran a stop sign in the small town of Clinton, Conn.It ran over Colleen Kelly Alexander, who was riding a bicycle.The truck's front wheels crushed her, then spit her to the bac...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

TAMPA — A male motorcyclist died early Saturday morning on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the Tampa Police Department said.About 1:35 a.m., the victim rode his motorcycle west on the Courtney Campbell at high speeds, police said. The motorcycle stru...
Published: 02/24/18
Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

TAMPA — Roughly 20 minutes into Saturday morning's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K, reigning champ A.J. Richmond glanced over his left shoulder to former college teammate Jon Mott and flashed a quick hand signal."He was telling me that t...
Published: 02/24/18