While the residents of Doral continue their quest to take the garbage out of Doral, the City of Medley has expressed its interest in installing a new plant within their jurisdiction.
By: Edda Pujadas
The neighboring City of Medley might be the new destination of the Covanta recycling plant because this is one of the four locations that is being considered by Miami Dade County for the construction of the new plant.
After the fire that took place a few months ago at the Covanta Dade Renewable Energy plant located in Doral, the Miami Dade Commissioners decided to rescind the resolution that had previously been approved to build a new processing plant in our city.
Juan Carlos Bermudez, current Commissioner for District 12, which includes Doral, informed that the seven Commissioners for Miami Dade County voted unanimously in favor of his proposal to rescind the decision taken back in June of 2022. This fire proved how dangerous it can be to have a processing plant like this one, which is 40 years old, functioning beside residential and commercial areas, close to schools and parks.
“Fortunately, it was possible to re-open the analysis of different locations where this new plant can be built. We started with a list of more than 200 locations, which were later reduced to 27, and now there are only four locations being evaluated in a new report that will be ready in approximately 90 days,” Bermudez explained.
Bermudez clarified that his true intention is to find a location that does not affect any resident of Miami Dade. If this means that it is necessary to take more than 90 days in the review of the locations, then this will be done. It is obvious that the previous decision was taken in a hurried way, without considering all the factors involved. “We will not arrive to any conclusion without a complete analysis.”
He also stated that even when four locations have been already pre-selected, it might be necessary to analyze again the 27 previous ones. As of today, the locations that are being considered are two areas West of the Turnpike, Doral, and Medley. The Mayor of Medley has indicated her interest in having the plant built in that city.
“From all the present and past officials of Miami Dade County, I am the one that lives closer to the Covanta Waste to Energy plant, for that reason, I am very committed to this cause. As Mayor of Doral, I dedicated a lot of time to this subject. For that reason, I believe it is of utmost importance that the location that is chosen complies with all the required needs,” commented Commissioner Bermudez.
He also indicated that it is important to take into consideration that the current plant is the pillar of the County’s garbage system and that it processes more than four thousand tons of solid waste per day, operating 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. This accounts for an annual average waste processing of 1,400,000 tons and an electricity production of 300,000 MWhs (enough electricity to power 30,000 homes).
“The main aspect to consider while selecting the new location is that it is not close to residential or school zones, but it must be in a central location for the easy ingress and egress of trucks. It must be close to a good highway system, and this new plant must be built with new technology,” stated Bermudez.
Even when the Miami Dade Commissioners understand the environmental impact that the existence of this plant has for the residents of Doral, it is important to take into consideration that the construction of a new plant will take approximately six years; during this time, the existing plant will have to continue its operation, because if it does not, the landfills on the County will completely collapse.
Another aspect to consider is that the estimated investment for the installation of a new state-of-the-art Waste to Energy processing plant for more than 4,000 tons, is above one billion dollars. This new plant will be like the one located in West Palm Beach that has significant operating improvements which provide better energy yields, captured recyclables, and lower emissions. It also eliminates the bad odors outside the facility.
Commissioner Bermudez indicated that in regard to the fire that took place in recent months in the Covanta Dade Renewable Energy plant, there is still no final and definite report on the cause of this fire.
For many years, the residents of Doral have fought tirelessly to take the garbage outside their boundaries. Now, the neighboring City of Medley has indicated its interest in being the new destination for this waste processing plant.
This comes after the Mayor of Medley, Roberto Martell, sent out a communication in which he invites the Miami Dade County Mayor, Daniella Levine-Cava, and Commissioner Bermudez to seriously consider the locations within Medley. He indicates that these can satisfy the needs for the Waste to Energy Plant for the county and could also be the most cost effective.
Mayor Martell indicated also that he hopes to be able to cooperate with all the county officials and help them in their efforts to reach a decision on the definitive location for the new plant, one that best serves the interest of the taxpayers.
Martell also expressed his wish to collaborate with the neighbors of Doral and he praised Mayor Levine-Cava and Commissioner Bermudez for their commitment to conduct a thorough investigation to find the best place to build a new and modern waste processing plant.
Commissioner Bermudez noted that Medley is a city with a very low residential component and that most of the city is zoned as industrial, for this reason, this is one of the locations that is being considered for the construction of this new plant.