ELIZABETH, NJ — Union County is one step closer to having a new recycling facility located at Tremley Point in Linden. The proposed facility will turn organic waste into natural gas along with other organic recycled material including liquid fertilizer.

The Union County Freeholders on Thursday approved an amendment to the county's recycling plan that will pave the way for Linden Renewable Energy LLC a subsidiary RNG Energy Solutions LLC, of Hampton, New Hampshire, to build the $220 million plant on a 21.46 acre parcel at 4900 Tremley Point Road in Linden.

The facility, which is being financed privately, requires approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection before the project moves forward. The Tremley location is currently owned by Linden Marine LLC, of Neptune.

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The operations of the proposed facility takes organic waste, such as unused foods from super markets and restaurants and converts the waste into organic byproducts such as natural gas, said LRE President James Potter at the freeholders virtual meeting.

The LRE plans on generating natural gas from organic waste provided by third party sources under contract with LRE. The facility will then take the natural gas derived by the recycled organic material and deliver it into the Texas Eastern Transmission Company interstate pipeline, according to LRE's application field with the Union County Utilities Authority.

Potter said the company plans on building its own pipeline from the Tremley Point site to connect to the TETCO pipeline. This pipeline will be approximately 4,000 feet, he said.

Providing organic materials to be processed into natural gas and liquid fertilizer will be trucks and potential barges from the Arthur Kill water source. The organic materials or “substrate” will be processed at the Linden site and converted into recycled byproducts like natural gas.

Following the freeholder’s authorization to amend the county’s solid waste management plan approving the LRE facility, the DEP has 155 days from Thursday’s Freeholder meeting to also approve the LRE plan, county officials said.

Public Hearing

Passage of the ordinance came after two public hearings, one held virtually at 1 p.m. Thursday and a second held before its passage during the regularly scheduled freeholders meeting, which also was held via Zoom.

Linden resident Judy England-McCarthy prepared questions and comments for Potter during the public hearing before the ordinance was passed. 

“Because I am in the Tremley Point area, anyone that knows the area knows there is one road that goes to this area and the trucks go directly past a public school and you're saying there are 6,000-pound trucks, England-McCarthy said.

“I’d like to know if there's been a traffic flow [study] done on how many trucks will be increasing within this area,” England-McCarthy said.

She pointed to “warehousing” within the Tremley Point area and her concerns with the health effects of having an increased concentration of trucking.

“Trucks cause that kind of pollution that can contribute to asthma,” McCarthy said. She also inquired about the company’s track record along with measures LRE plans to take in order to avoid run-off and pollution of nearby waterways.

Potter responded to McCarthy along with environmental attorney Dennis Toft, an attorney working on LRE’s behalf.

Toft emphasized that the LRE and the project would be “subject to state permits.” He also said a traffic study is being done as part of their “discussions” with the city of Linden.

Potter estimates that the facility would field “five to seven trucks per hour,” with the LRE pointing to his company’s environmental track record and the overall performance other renewable natural gas projects.

During the meeting, Potter estimated the project’s construction will start no later than the first quarter of 2021 pending permits and approvals.

He estimated the process would require 16 months of construction, three months of startup and would employ 400,000 hours of union labor to build the plant. Potter also said he projects the facility will generate significant tax revenue for Linden.