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Less waste in our landfill

We utilize Waste-to-Energy on the front end of our process to reduce the amount of waste being placed in our landfill, conserving valuable airspace which extends the life of our Regional Landfill. We use Waste-to- Energy on the back end of our process by extracting landfill gas from the waste that does make it into our landfill, providing valuable fuel for local processing plants and creating electricity that is sold back to the grid. Utilizing Waste-to-Energy is made possible through contracts with two of our partners, Wheelabrator Portsmouth and Biogas Energy Solutions / Suffolk Energy Partners.

Integrated waste disposal

SPSA provides a comprehensive integrated waste disposal system to our member communities. We understand that our communities expect us to provide a dependable disposal system at a competitive price while embracing every opportunity to conserve landfill airspace and work to eliminate negative impacts on our environment. In order to meet these challenges, we continuously evaluate every aspect of our waste disposal system to ensure we are providing a system that offers the best value, environmental stewardship, community stewardship, reliability and convenience to our member communities. This philosophy has made SPSA a leader in integrated solid waste management disposal and drives every operational decision we make. As a result of this business philosophy, “Waste-to-Energy” has become one of the major parts of our integrated solution to waste disposal. 

On the front end

Wheelabrator Portsmouth Inc. (WPI) operates a Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) plant and a Waste-to-Energy (WTE) plant. The RDF plant receives waste and processes the waste into small pieces which are then referred to as “fuel.” That fuel is transported by conveyor to the WTE where it is used to fire large boilers providing steam and electricity to the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. Any excess electricity produced is sold back to the grid. 

Through a Waste Disposal and Service Agreement (WDSA) between SPSA and WPI, SPSA sends all waste collected at the Chesapeake Transfer Station, Landstown Transfer Station, Norfolk Transfer Station and Oceana Transfer Station to the RDF plant for disposal. Collection trucks from the City of Portsmouth typically deliver directly to the RDF facility. The City of Chesapeake and the City of Norfolk also deliver directly to the RDF plant when they are collecting in neighborhoods that are located closer to the RDF plant than the designated transfer station in their City. Approximately 83% of all of the waste that comes through SPSA facilities is processed through the RDF plant. This waste is burned at the WTE plant resulting in 211,236 megawatts of electricity being sold to the grid and 360,024 K-Lbs. of steam being sold to the Navy while conserving valuable airspace that otherwise would have been taken up in our Regional Landfill. This conservation of airspace drastically increases the life expectancy of permitted cells located at the Regional Landfill. 

On the Back End


Mas Energy operates a biogas facility located at the Regional Landfill. They extract methane gas which is naturally occurring within the landfill due to the decomposing organic material. This gas is then processed and sold via a pipeline to a local manufacturing facility located in Wilroy Industrial Park to be used to fire boilers necessary to operate their manufacturing facility. Any excess gas not sold through the pipeline is used to fuel generators that produce electricity which is sold back to the grid to power many of our local homes and businesses. Federal regulations require that we manage the methane gas produced by our Landfill and sets very stringent monitoring and reporting guidelines that we must follow. By extracting landfill gas and re-using it to support manufacturing plants and producing electricity to power homes in our community, we consistently find ourselves well below the thresholds set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect our environment and ensure that our landfill does not have an adverse effect on air quality. In addition SPSA receives royalty payments from SEP for the gas and electricity sold. These payments are used to offset tipping fees that are paid by our member communities.

As you can see, Waste-to-Energy is an important part of our integrated regional solid waste disposal system. Not only does it assist us in minimizing our reliance on the Regional Landfill by providing other disposal options, the waste that we do dispose of in the Regional Landfill creates revenue that allows us to offset tipping fees while providing a much needed source of energy to support local manufacturing and to power thousands of homes in our communities. We are pleased to partner with Wheelabrator Portsmouth and Mas Energy  to continue providing high quality disposal services at competitive prices. Waste-to-Energy is just one of the creative ways that we here at SPSA use to offset the cost our customers pay for service while conserving the valuable airspace we currently have in our Regional Landfill. We encourage you to give us a call and schedule a tour of our facilities. We have a lot to show off! We want to share what we do and how we do it. We think you will be pleasantly surprised!