There's no sure sign that the Bay County Waste to Energy Facility will open any time soon. It remains closed because of a fire that ripped through its waste holding area last February.
The company that manages the facility says it's working with the insurance company to open in a timely manner while taking the steps to prevent this from ever happening again.
"There's some engineering assessment to be done, to fully define the scope of the work." Joe Tannehill Jr. says. Tannehill who serves as the Managing Director for Engen, the facility's operator, has been working with the insurance company since the day the fire started. "The insurance company is spending their money to repair this facility. They have their hands in it."
New plans for the incinerator call for repairs to the broiler structure which sustained damage, a new control room and administration building that will sit adjacent to the complex and the reconstruction of the waste holing warehouse, where the fire started.
A major improvement to the warehouse includes a door that can be closed to prevent fires from spreading.
Each day about 258 tons of garbage is diverted to the Steelfield Landfill. The added tonnage consumes an additional 2.5 days' of airspace over the norm.
At the same time, the incinerator loses more than 14,000 dollars from potential revenue that could be generated, but says the insurance covers their losses as well.
So far the county has received about $10 million in insurance payments thus far and existing recycling and power contracts are not affected by the closure.
Although the county isn't at a loss, some cities are. Panama City and other waste management companies have to haul their trash twice as far to the landfill. The tougher environment also has a lasting impact on the trucks. More maintenance is being conducted and more overtime is being paid out to employees working longer hours.
Panama City's Solid Waste Department says they're still operating in the black, but says the shut down has definitely impacted them.
Bay County says they're on track to pay off the facility by 2023. The county currently owes about $24.6 million on the facility. There is no word on when the facility will reopen.