Students Tour TC Recycling and Seneca Landfill

6/6/2018

On Thursday May 17, a group of interested and motivated local high school students toured the Seneca Landfill and TC Recycling facilities.  The students from the Shenango School District in New Castle were juniors and seniors, and members of the Shenango’s Conservation Club at school. The visit was part of the community outreach program coordinated by the combined Lawrence-Mercer Counties Recycling/Solid Waste Department (LMRSWD). The students were accompanied by Jerry Zona, Director of the LMRSWD, as well as Megan Gahring, Assistant Director.

Ms. Gahring organized the student tour as part of LMRSWD’s mission to raise public awareness about the positive aspects of proper recycling and solid waste handling methods, partly through education programs and tours. The program is funded by a PA DEP Environmental Grant.  According to Ms. Gahring, “The goal of the field trip was for the students to see firsthand where our trash and recyclables go, how it is properly managed at these facilities, and witness a prime example of renewable energy.”

The students were intrigued to discover, as explained by David Smith, P.E., Seneca’s General Manager, that the Landfill operates as a biogas reactor recovering methane produced by the decomposition of material buried at the site. The Vogel Company has recently constructed a state of the art Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) filling station at the landfill site (more details here).

The tour bus was able to maneuver through the landfill so that students were able to see waste being dumped and compacted at the working face. They observed the next steps of collecting and processing the gas through what is referred to as the High BTU plant. At the final stop they saw firsthand the CNG filling station where the trucks can refuel before returning to collection routes.

At the end of the tour the students boarded the bus and proceeded to the TC Recycling facility in Mars. In the last year at this facility, a multi-million-dollar equipment upgrade was installed to efficiently sort single stream recyclables. The students were able to witness the automated multiple separation of fiber and containers into respective sorted streams and the baling process for shipment. The separation is accomplished by using various screens, optical, and magnetic sorting equipment. The Mars facility is the processing destination for much of the Lawrence and Mercer County recyclables collected through the blue bin and blue cart programs.