Minimizing Air Emissions
Like all combustion processes (e.g., cars, trucks, fossil-fuel power plants, landfill gas to energy) and nearly all waste management processes (e.g., landfilling, composting, anaerobic digestion, recycling), Energy-from-Waste (EfW) facilities have air emissions. To minimize emissions, EfW facilities employ a carefully controlled combustion process with temperatures in excess of 2,000°F and sophisticated air pollution control equipment. Emissions are monitored both continuously and with periodic testing performed by regulator-approved third parties. 99.9% of what comes out of the stack is comprised of normal components of air, including water vapor, nitrogen, oxygen and CO2.
Since the implementation of stringent air pollution standards, such as the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, emissions from the industry have dropped dramatically, as the result of both closing outdated facilities and installing new air pollution control equipment. Emissions from Covanta’s facilities continue to decrease. Since the start of the company’s sustainability program in 2007, emissions of pollutants at Covanta operated facilities, as measured over the three-year period from 2017–2019, have decreased by up to 72% (Figure 1). In addition to our continued focus on operations and system optimization, our capital improvements are paying dividends in reducing emissions. The new baghouse installation we completed at our Essex County facility in 2016 continues to perform well, having reduced pollutants by up to 90%. Our proprietary low nitrous oxide system (Low NOx™), already installed in 24 units, helps us control NOx emissions and reduce reagent consumption. We are currently planning on installing the technology in nine additional units.
View Detailed 2019 Performance by Facility
These emissions reductions support Covanta’s strong record of consistently falling well below federal regulatory limits for emissions (Figure 2). More information is available in our white paper on EfW Emissions.
Covanta Americas 2017–2019 EfW Emissions Compared to 2007
Figure 1. Since Covanta launched its sustainability program in 2007, emissions of pollutants at Covanta-operated facilities, as measured over the three‐year period from 2017–2019, have decreased by up to 72%.
Covanta Americas 2017–2019 EfW Emissions Compared to Federal Standards
Figure 2. In the U.S., air emissions from Covanta usually operate at 60 to 90 percent or more below permitted parameters.
Detailed Facility Performance
Select an individual U.S. facility to see detailed 2019 environmental performance on life cycle GHG emissions, electricity generation, metals recycling, emissions performance relative to federal guidelines and emissions compared to total emissions in the local county.