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County takes on waste

Integrated Materials & Energy Recovery Facility to target trash

EUGENE: The Lane County Board of County Commissioners has voted 3-2 to begin the process of building an Integrated Materials & Energy Recovery Facility (IMERF) in Goshen.

The facility is described as potentially the most technologically advanced waste processing facility in the country and will be designed and built by a local manufacturer, Bulk Handling Systems (BHS). The new process will involve gathering residential garbage, commingled recycling, and organic waste to produce marketable recycling commodities and biogas for transportation.

The IMERF is expected to divert over 80,000 tons of material annually from the nearby county landfill and expand its life for at least 20 years past its current 70-year life expectancy.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our community,” said Public Works Director Dan Hurley. “Not only will this project help us reduce the amount of material that ends up in the landfill, increase the amount we can recycle, and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions (to the tune of taking 30,000 cars off the road), it will also create local jobs. We expect the two-year construction period to create 190 jobs and to have 65 ongoing family-wage positions to operate the IMERF after it opens.”

Officials say the IMERF will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the landfill while diverting recyclable materials from waste that would otherwise be landfilled. It should create local, sustainable economic development and jobs while using proven recycling processing systems. Other expected benefits include leveraging public-private partnerships and constructing and operating at an affordable cost.

“There are no other sorting facilities like this in Lane County,” said Hurley. “Currently, there is limited processing to extract cardboard and metals locally, but the majority of materials are transported to the Portland area for processing.”

The total expected cost of the project is $150 million. Bulk Handling Systems will pay for $100 million (building and installing the sorting equipment). Lane County will be responsible for the remaining $50 million; however, a $ 15 million tax credit will reduce the local cost to $35 million. Additional grants and outside funding may reduce the local cost further.

Lane County will increase solid waste disposal fees to help fund a portion of the project. For the average residential customer, the total increase in cost related to this facility would be approximately $2.30 per month phased in over four years.


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