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County continues conversation on Covanta incinerator plan

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- New Hanover County Commissioners talked trash again today. They discussed a contract with Covanta Energy to refurbish the county's trash incinerator.

At a cost to the county of about $32 million, Covanta is proposing a 20-year commitment to re-furbish and run what was formerly known as WASTEC.

Right now, the county's landfill is only expected to last for six more years. Commissioners hope Covanta can help extend its life drastically.

The nearly 30-year-old incinerator has been re-branded as a sustainable energy facility.

The board is talking about adding on another $1.8 million of debt to purchase additional scrubbers to reduce mercury emissions.

"It would just be another layer going in there and actually refine the air that's going to go out even more to reduce the particulate matters, whether it's mercury emissions coming out of stacks, and to me it's pretty significant," Commissioner Jonathan Barfield said.

To cover the debt cost, the county would increase tipping fees to about $90 per ton, which comes out to an increase of about $25 a year for residential customers. If the additional scrubbers are added to the cost, tipping fees would increase by 11 more cents.

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