All three Harrisburg Incinerator burners back online

The Harrisburg incinerator’s third, long-dormant burner is up and operating six months ahead of schedule.

The Harrisburg incinerator’s third, long-dormant burner is up and operating six months ahead of schedule.

Harrisburg Authority chairman James E. Ellison made the announcement last night at the authority’s rescheduled Jan. 24 meeting.

Only two of the plant’s three burners had been used at 75 percent of their capacity for about two years, the result of a faulty retrofit that cost $84 million.

The third burner also will operate at 75 percent of its capacity in the short-term, but the fix will curb the loss of $1 million per month in unrealized revenue and will generate an additional $500,000 monthly, Ellison said.

New Jersey-based Covanta Energy Corp. fixed the burner. Covanta began operating the facility for the authority in January 2007.

Covanta planned the third burner repairs for several months and began making lots of little fixes on the unit approximately eight weeks ago, said John S. Moffitt, facility manager of the Harrisburg plant. It went online again last Saturday, he said.

Covanta officials would have suggested the temporary repairs to the authority sooner, but it took time to understand the technology and equipment in use at the plant, Moffitt said. Covanta also had to repair the other two burners before it moved on to the third, he said.

The authority invested $300,000 in temporary measures to make the burner work and $150,000 will go towards the permanent $25.5 million retrofit, Ellison said. The authority used reserve funds to fix the third burner, he said.

Plant renovations should be completed by the end of 2008, said Michelle Torres, authority executive director. Other items will be finished by March 2009, she said.

Meanwhile, the authority voted unanimously to reject six construction bids the authority received for the project.

There was nothing wrong with the bids submitted by contracting companies, Torres said. The authority’s bidding documents sent to contractors were flawed, she said. The authority authorized the re-issuance of requests for construction bids at last night’s meeting.

The Jan. 24 authority meeting was rescheduled because the group did not have enough members to hold a quorum. The authority held back-to-back meetings last night to catch up to its next regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. March 26.

New authority members J. Marc Kurowski and Cathy M. Hall were welcomed to the authority last night.

Kurowski is a principal with Swatara Township, Dauphin County-based K&W Engineers and Consultants. Hall is a Susquehanna Township resident and former board member of the Harrisburg School District and founding president of the Harrisburg Urban League Young Professionals. She is also a former vice president of the Harrisburg Young Professionals.

The authority voted in favor of making Torres executive director of the authority last night. She previously served as acting executive director.

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