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May 01. 2014 8:22PM

Concord's Wheelabrator plant reaches milestone today

CONCORD — City and state officials will gather today at Wheelabrator Technologies to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the plant, which converts waste into electricity that powers thousands of homes.

So how do you mark the silver anniversary of a waste treatment plant?

John LaRiviere, the plant’s general manager, said it was about honoring the commitment of its workers and partners.

“We’re just having a gathering thanking everyone involved because it’s pretty special. In addition, we have six employees who have been here, including myself, the full 25 years,” LaRiviere said. “I started on the lower rungs and worked my way up.”

On hand for the event, which begins at 11 a.m., will be several state and local officials, including New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Commissioner Tom Burack and Concord Mayor Jim Bouley.

Since opening in 1989, the Wheelabrator facility has processed more than 4 million tons of waste, generating more than 2.5 million megawatts of electricity.

It’s one of 17 waste-to-energy plants around the country run by Wheelabrator, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Waste Management.

The Concord plant serves more than two dozen communities in southern and central New Hampshire through the Concord Regional Solid Waste Resource Recovery Cooperative (COOP).

Every day, the plant converts more than 500 tons of post-recycled household and commercial waste into energy, generating more than 14 megawatts of electricity — enough to power 14,000 New Hampshire homes, as well as its own operations.

LaRiviere said the latest initiative at the plant is a metal recovery system, which can extract 4,000 tons of scrap metal from the waste material it processes.

“We’re looking at this as a milestone, as a testament to the Wheelabrator Concord employees and the safety of the facility,” LaRiviere said.

In addition to Friday’s event, Wheelabrator will be holding its annual youth environmental summit, the Symposium for Environment and Education, starting on Sunday.

For the first time, the company will be streaming online video coverage of the event, in which 150 students from 15 schools in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Florida will be making presentations on ocean health.


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