Normal Sets Ordinance For Pollution-Control Facility

Published 07/21 2014 09:17PM

Updated 07/21 2014 10:23PM

NORMAL - A recent EPA report says Illinois is running out of landfill space quickly.

In fact, McLean County’s could be filled in about three years. Now, a proposal to Normal's town council could change the clock in Central Illinois.

The Town of Normal set up an ordinance on Monday night that will allow the town to set up a review process for a pollution-control facility. That discussion was pushed forward by an indication from Paradigm BioAviation that they will make a serious bid to set up a multimillion dollar operation in town that could convert waste into jet fuel and electricity.

"It consumes just about everything, and doesn't leave anything behind. It's fantastic. It would eliminate the need eventually for landfills,” said city manager Mark Peterson.

Originally, Paradigm wanted to build by the current landfill in Bloomington.

“Unfortunately, that site didn't work out because there wasn't enough usable space,” said Paradigm consultant and Bloomington alderman Rob Fazzini. “But there were three other spots we're looking at, and they're all on the outskirts."

The technology has been used in Europe, but it would be relatively new to America.

"But it's also very expensive technology. It's a very expensive facility to build,” said Peterson.

“Phase One is about $70 million and the next phase is another $60 million,” said Paradigm president and CEO Alan Robinson.

And if Paradigm gets approved, Peterson says there would be a "tipping" fee, which would pump a portion of the profits back into the city, but Peterson says that is a big if. The process still would need to go through the normal public comment period and hearings.

"They can produce jet fuel, but if they can't sell it to sources that are relatively close, because you don't want to pay a lot to transport the stuff,” said Peterson.

"There are enough airports and national guard units within 50-75 miles, so that we won't have to truck our fuel too far,” said Fazzini.

Robinson says Bloomington has a truck on the road almost daily, headed to Crown Point, Ind., to get jet fuel.

"We can reduce that road traffic. Not only are we producing something that's good for the environment, that won't pollute, but we're taking traffic off the road and that's important,” said Robinson.

While the group didn't get into specifics, they tell us that the areas could be near the local TIF districts and on the edge of Business Route 51. The ordinance is no guarantee that paradigm will win the bid. It will still go through a public comment, hearing and period of expert witnesses.

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