Evaluation of Landfill and Waste to Energy Options for Managing Municipal Solid Waste

Evaluation of Landfill and Waste to Energy Options for Managing Municipal Solid Waste


Portland Metro region: Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties , Oregon


Oregon Metro, Ollson Environmental Health Management, HDR Engineering
built environmentt

Metro Council of greater Portland, Oregon, commissioned a health impact assessment to evaluate the potential health impacts and benefits of managing 200,000 tons per year of the Metro Region's municipal solid waste through a waste-to-energy (WTE) facility versus a conventional landfill. In terms of impacts on environmental social determinants of health, such as air and soil quality, vehicle emissions, and surface and groundwater quality, the assessment found no significant difference between the WTE and landfill scenarios. The WTE facility would surpass the generic landfill in energy production. The report's comparative greenhouse gas analysis produced conflicting findings, relying on two modeling approaches: the Waste Reduction Model (WARM) method and the Municipal Solid Waste Decision Support Tool (MSW-DST) method. Therefore, it was unable to determine which waste management method would produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

The Metro Council ultimately decided to remove the WTE scenario from consideration, citing the increased costs ($60 per ton, versus $25 per ton at a generic landfill) and the HIA report's inconclusive findings around benefits to human and environmental health.

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At A Glance
  • Status Complete
  • Completion Date 2017, July
  • Sector Built Environment
  • Organization Type Collaborative