Waste-To-Energy

Most of the municipal solid waste from Harford County is converted into renewable energy at a facility known as the Harford Waste-to-Energy Facility (HWTEF).

2 Stage Process

In the facility, waste is combusted in a controlled 2-stage thermal oxidation process. The heat released is used to make steam from water and the steam is piped to the Edgewood Area of APG for use in heating and cooling buildings.

The steam generated currently provides about 50% of the steam needs of the Edgewood Area of Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG). Without this steam, the Army would have to burn oil or gas.
The Waste to Energy Plant in Harford County
Land Use & Location
The HWTEF sits on a 13-acre parcel of land leased from the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, situated immediately outside of the Magnolia Road Gate, at the southern entrance of the Edgewood Area.

Long-Term Lease
The site is made available through a long-term lease to the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority from the U.S. Government. The term of the lease expires March 17, 2016.

Plant History
5th Burner in 1988
When the HWTEF was constructed in 1988, plans were made and space was provided to add a fifth burner.

2005 Expansion
Beginning in 2005, dialogue began between the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority (Authority), Harford County, and the Army to consider an expansion/replacement of the existing HWTEF. At that time it was determined that in order to achieve an expanded capacity to meet the needs of both the County and the Army, a replacement facility would be constructed adjacent to the existing HWTEF during the 10-year planning period. Negotiations and development of the project continued through 2009.

Proposal Plans
Under this proposal, the HWTEF was planned to be a state of the art replacement mass burn waste to energy facility with a nameplate capacity of 1500 tons per day. The replacement facility would have been the primary solid waste acceptance and processing facility for the County. An anticipated agreement would have provided for the sale of energy, both electricity and steam, to APG.

Lack of Agreement
After lengthy and exhaustive negotiations since 2005, both parties determined neither was able to agree to certain terms and conditions. The County needed to develop and have in place a long-term solid waste disposal solution by 2012 in order for that solution to be capable of being implemented by March 2016. This time frame became difficult to meet from the Army’s perspective.

Baltimore County Partnership
Concurrently during the above negotiations, Harford County explored other potential long-term solid waste disposal solutions and determined the most feasible, practical and cost effective solution was to partner with Baltimore County in a regional approach to its needs. Operations at the HWTEF will cease in the spring of 2016 as described in the Harford County 10-year Solid Waste Management Plan. At that time, all waste and recycling will be directed to Baltimore County’s facilities in White Marsh. The Army has plans to construct its own facility to generate steam from burning natural gas.