In November 2010, the "American City and County" magazine focused on sustainability. The article, "Sustaining Growth: Communities pursue green goals despite limited funds," written by Nancy Jackson recognizes the efforts of Will County to sustain the environment. Below is the excerpt from the article which recognizes Will County and its waste management efforts.


One of the fastest growing countries in Ilinois, Will County has focused on developing a sustainabile solid waste program for many years. In 1988, the county formed its Waste Services Division, which gives grants to various entities to establish recycling and other programs, says Dean Olson, manager of the division. Will County has established programs to recycle electronic waste, medications, books and textiles, and it holds events to collect used tires and hazardous waste. 

"The main [reasons] we collect these materials are to recycle or reuse them, or to keep them from polluting our environment  and taking up valuable space in the county's landfill," Olson says. "We offer these collection opportunities to our residents, but we also have an agreement with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to provide enforcement of environmental laws for open dumps, open burning, landfills, compost sites, land application sites and transfer stations throughout the county."

This year, Will County is taking its commitment to the environment even further, with the help of a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Energy Efficiency & Conservation Block Grant. With $1 million of the grant funds and a $6.2 million investment from Houston-based Waste Management, Will County recently broke ground at an existing landfill for a gas-to-energy facility that will convert landfill gas into electricity. Scheduled to be operational by summer 2011, the facility initially produce 4.8 megawatts (MW) per year, enough electricity to power 3,800 homes, and it eventually will produce 12.8 MW, enough energy to power 8,000 homes. The new facility also will bring the county significant revenue, beginning with more than $440,000 the first year and eventually growing to an estimated $1 million.

In addition to the gas-to-energy facility, Will County is using the DOE grant to install energy-efficient components at county facilities, such as a green roof, motion sensors for lights, high efficiency toilets, LED lighting, newer heating and air conditioning components and energy-efficient boilers. The county also will use the DOE funds to install a cool roof at the Court Annex buildings, modernize an elevator and replace revolving doors at the county's nursing home, Olson says. 


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