Cape Cod Solution
SEMASS Resource Recovery Facility
The SEMASS Resource Recovery Facility, developed by Energy Answers, provides the communities of Cape Cod and southeastern Massachusetts with an alternative to landfilling their solid waste and is an integral part of a regional solution which includes well established programs for reduction, recycling, and composting.
The best testimony to the acceptance of the SEMASS resource recovery system is the fact that it was built in one of the most environmentally sensitive areas in the U.S., in a relatively affluent community with significant tourism and agriculture. Later when the expansion application was submitted to the MA DEP, it was approved without any negative comments.
Cape Cod - a sandy peninsula in southeastern Massachusetts that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean - is a vacation paradise. This pristine landscape, interspersed with historic small villages, draws thousands of visitors each year. Cape Cod’s most famous family, the Kennedys, have long recognized the natural beauty of this region and generations have spent their summers at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port. With a strong desire to preserve the region, President John F. Kennedy signed the legislation which established the Cape Cod National Seashore.
-- Georgia D. Chamberlain,
Former Rochester, Massachusetts Conservation Commissioner and Cranberry Grower
"I worked with SEMASS and Energy Answers staff throughout the development, construction and startup of the base facility. It is refreshing to know that they are sincerely concerned with protecting the environment and working to solve the landfill problem that exists on Cape Cod. . . The area cranberry growers’ concerns about the facility’s effects on the bogs that surrounds it were addressed from the beginning, and SEMASS has kept its promises about zero process water discharge and clean emissions from the plant."
Year-round residents depend on tourism but the economy is also fueled by agriculture and the fishing industry. There are about 1200 acres of cranberry bogs within a 3-mile radius of the SEMASS Resource Recovery Facility. The area is full of fragile watersheds, which are an essential component of this major agricultural region.
During the development of the SEMASS Resource Recovery Facility in southeastern Massachusetts, Energy Answers recognized that waste collection trucks going to and from SEMASS would have a significant impact on the heavy tourist traffic across the bridges connecting Cape Cod to the mainland.
To ensure efficient deliveries of waste from Cape Cod communities, Energy Answers was instrumental in designing and developing two rail transfer stations, one to serve the municipalities in the area of Yarmouth and the other in the vicinity of Falmouth Massachusetts.
Energy Answers' rail transfer operation is another example of the company's commitment to recovering underutilized resources. The rail cars used at the facilities, capable of holding 60 tons of waste, were designed by Energy Answers using surplus box cars which had been taken out of service. In addition, this entire transfer operation has provided daily rail freight service to Cape Cod, helping to sustain economic development and ensuring continued benefits of the short-line railroad in southeastern Massachusetts.