Oregon WTE facility celebrates 30 years of operations

Marion County, Oregon, Commissioner Sam Brentano

Covanta Marion, located in Brooks, Oregon, is celebrating 30 years of providing solid waste disposal operations for the residents of Marion County, Oregon. Opened in 1987, the energy-from-waste (EFW) facility has processed more 5.5 million tons of municipal waste, saving more than 45 acres of land from being developed into landfills, says parent company Covanta, Morristown, New Jersey.

“The Covanta Marion Energy-from-Waste facility is the centerpiece of one of the most comprehensive and integrated solid waste and recycling systems in Oregon—and possibly the United States,” said Marion County Commissioner Sam Brentano during a ceremony commemorating the anniversary. “Marion County prioritizes waste reduction and recycling and then recovers energy from the material that remains. We are extremely proud of our innovative and comprehensive waste management system and look forward to a continued partnership with Covanta.”

The facility is the cornerstone of Marion County’s solid waste disposal system, consistently processing an average of 550 tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) each day, Covanta says. Revenue from the facility has allowed the county to provide its 325,000 residents with innovative waste reduction and recycling programs and has led to a recycling rate of approximately 52 percent, among the highest in the U.S., Marion County officials say.

“For three decades, Covanta’s partnership with Marion County has yielded amazing results in sustainable waste management and a cleaner environment,” Christopher Baker, vice president and general manager of Covanta’s West region, said at the event. “Investing in an energy-from-waste facility was the right decision for Marion County in the 1980s and continues to hold true today with the development of a world-class system that has served as a model for those that followed. We are proud of our contribution to this success and look forward to many more years of continued partnership.”

Since its inception, the Covanta Marion EFW facility has:

  • generated approximately 2.5 million megawatt hours of electricity, enough to power more than 200,000 homes for one year;
  • reduced greenhouse gas emissions by almost 3 million tons relative to landfilling, equal to the annual greenhouse gases from more than 500,000 cars; and
  • recovered the equivalent ferrous metal for recycling that would be used to build more than 100,000 cars.

Over the years, the Covanta Marion EFW Facility has been recognized for its safety and environmental excellence. These awards include designation as a Voluntary Protection Program Star facility by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for workplace safety excellence, inclusion in Oregon’s Safety and Health Recognition Program (SHARP) and an Excellence Award from the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Spring, Maryland.

Covanta Marion also is active in the community, providing residents and law enforcement with the safe and secure destruction of unwanted pharmaceuticals through its RX4Safety program, which helps deter prescription drug abuse and protects waterways and drinking water.