Future of costly facility at Bay View plant in question - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Future of costly facility at Bay View plant in question

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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Completed in late 2009, the City of Toledo's co-generation facility at Bay View Wastewater Treatment Plant has been idle since July.

The facility converts gas captured from the Hoffman Road landfill into electricity to provide power to the wastewater plant, but there have been problems getting a quality product from the landfill to Bay View.

"Right now what's happening [is] the landfill is having some work done, construction work at the landfill," said Toledo Public Utilities Director Dave Welch. "We're putting in some new wells, making repairs to the gas well field which within a couple of months should bring the gas back to where it was before."

Councilman Mike Collins raised concerns about a $1.9 million spending measure for maintenance of the co-generation facility.

"This is a really challenging issue because we have so much invested in it," Collins said. "We're up to $30 million, so the question is, are we putting more money into ultimately a bad project?"

Records show in 2010 and 2011 the co-generation project allowed the city to cut its electric bill at Bay View by nearly $3 million, but Collins said if this round of repairs doesn't correct the problems, it will be time to close it down.

"If it isn't going to work, more money isn't going to fix it," he said.

Welch said now is not the time to panic, considering the energy source from the landfill is expected to help fuel the wastewater plant for the next 20-30 years.

"That gas has a value to it and that's what we want to use," Welch explained. "We want that gas to run our co-gen to produce electricity to offset our energy costs at the plant."

Council will take up the issue at its meeting next week.  

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