Resource recovery development: factors affecting decisions

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Municipalities are increasingly facing solid waste disposal problems due to lack of sanitary landfill sites, high costs of landfill management and increasingly stringent environmental standards. Consequently, they are turning toward innovative disposal practices to alleviate these problems. However, very little comprehensive information is available to decision makers on the range of options available in resource recovery development and the factors that can influence choices.

This thesis tests the hypothesis that there are a definable set of factors or circumstances that have led resource recovery developers to make specific decisions regarding ownership, operation, financing, system technology, and air pollution control technology. The thesis is divided into three stages: development of case studies on 9 resource recovery facilities in the state of Virginia; development and analysis of a nationwide survey to test the patterns illustrated in these case studies; and finally, the development of a guide for resource recovery developers that will serve as preliminary guidance in their choice of development options.