The Anchorage Assembly approved $100,000 from its Solid Waste Services budget to fund a study on how the city would build a waste-to-energy incineration plant to contend with its landfill limits. The plan is to be completed in 90 days. The $300 million to $400 million plant would require seven to 10 years of work before opening, officials said. The landfill in Eagle River has an estimated 42 operational years left, while an incineration plant would increase that lifespan to 177 years, Anchorage Solid Waste Services Manager Mark Spafford said.
Other options include sending trash north to the Matanuska-Susitna Valley or removing it by water using a barge, although neither are economically viable, Spafford said. “We need to do whatever we can as a department to help extend the life of the landfill because once that landfill is gone, we don’t have any good options left,” Spafford said. The study does not commit the city to building the plant, but would give officials a better idea of costs, time needed and benefits, Spafford said.