Rumpke breaks ground on gas to energy plant


After months of planning, a project to convert gas from a landfill in western Jackson County into a renewable natural energy source powering as many as 12,000 homes has officially kicked off.

Rumpke Waste and Recycling is partnering with Archaea Energy to bring the project to reality at the landfill at 546 S. County Road 870W, Medora.

During a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday morning at the landfill, Eric Curtis, a Rumpke regional vice president, spoke about the project, which has a $20 to $25 million price tag.

“We strive to offer our customers a complete solution for their waste,” Curtis said. “Today, we’re breaking ground on a new solution that allows our customers to find new light.”

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He said the project will take the gases produced from decomposing garbage and convert it into a usable natural gas that can be used to power homes, businesses and even vehicles.

Nick Stork, CEO of Archaea, also talked about his company’s involvement in the project.

“Archaea was formed with the fundamental belief that landfills are more than just garbage dumps,” he said. “We believe that a landfill has the opportunity to be a renewable energy facility.”

Stork also talked about the Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, company’s decision to partner with Rumpke, which is headquartered in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area in Colerain Township in Hamilton County.

“We had the opportunity to work with a number of landfill owners all over the country, but we hadn’t found a landfill and solid waste company quite like Rumpke before in their commitment to environmental stewardship, safety and compliance,” he said. “So those things really make Rumpke an ideal partner in this project.”

The project will begin with the gas collection system being laid down at the future site of the plant, connecting it to the landfill.

Once the plant is operational, the landfill gas will be funneled to the plant, where carbon dioxide will be separated from methane gas and other trace gases to create clean, recycled natural gas.

The system will be installed by Monitoring Control and Compliance, and according to Charles Elkins with that firm, that portion will begin Monday and is estimated to be completed within the next six to eight weeks.

Elkins thanked the community for their involvement.

“I would like to thank the communities for what I’d like to call a donation to this project,” he said. “Not a donation of money but a donation of their garbage. Their garbage is what comes into this landfill and within six months to a year starts generating landfill gas that will be used for this project. Secondly, their donation is a long-lasting donation to this project, as every pound of waste as every pound of waste that they put into this project will generate landfill gas for 20 to 30 years.”

After the system is installed by MCC, the production of the plant will begin.

The plant should be completed and running by this time a year from now, said Molly Yeager, corporate communications manager for Rumpke.

Going forward, the plant will be owned and operated by Archaea, which will work with Rumpke to determine how the gas will be distributed.

“Rumpke has been on the forefront of landfill gas to energy projects,” said Jeff Rumpke, area president for Rumpke.

He said the company started harvesting and recycling landfill gas at its sites in 1986.

“We currently have projects at four of our landfills, and we are excited to see the Medora project come online and bring another environmentally beneficial project to Indiana,” Rumpke said.

In addition to the Medora plant, Archaea is working with Rumpke to build a similar facility at Rumpke’s landfill in Montgomery County, Kentucky.

Rumpke purchased the landfill, which has been in operation since 1971, in 1983. A recycling center was opened there in 2017.

Rumpke employs 2,600 people and provides services to areas of Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. There are currently around 75 employees at the Medora facility.

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