Covanta Energy

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Covanta Holding Corporation
Public company
Traded as NYSECVA
Industry Renewable Energy/Waste Management
Headquarters Morristown, New Jersey
Key people
Samuel Zell (Chairman) [1]
Revenue Increase US$ 1,699.0 million (2016)[2]
Increase US$ 109.0 million (2016)[2]
Decrease US$ -4.0 million (2016)[2]
Total assets Increase US$ 4,284.0 million (2016)[2]
Total equity Decrease US$ 469.0 million (2016)[2]
Number of employees
3,600 (2016)[2]

Covanta (formerly the Ogden Corporation) is a large global corporation that provides a variety of waste-management and incineration services. Annually, Covanta’s Energy-from-Waste (EFW) facilities, also known as waste-to-energy plants, burn approximately 20 million tons of waste from municipalities and businesses, while also generating sufficient electricity to power one million homes. Covanta recycles approximately 500,000 tons of metal each year. Through a large network of treatment and recycling facilities, the firm also provides industrial material management services to companies in various industries.

The Energy-from-Waste Process[edit]

Post-recycling municipal solid waste is gathered from homes and businesses, and is then delivered and temporarily stored in a bunker at the Energy-from-Waste facility. The building around the tipping and bunker area is maintained under negative pressure, and this air is then fed into the combustion process as an odor-control measure. The waste is moved into the combustion chamber and is burned at high temperatures in a self-sustaining process. Heat from combustion boils water to create steam which in turn powers a turbine-driven generator to produce electricity, or may sometimes be used directly for heating or industrial processes. Electricity is distributed to the grid and used to power homes and businesses.

Air pollution control equipment is used to cool, collect, and clean combustion gases. This equipment operates under the regulatory framework that applies to the jurisdiction in which it is situated, and thus the sophistication of emissions controls will vary between facilities. At Covanta EFW plants, particulate-matter emissions are primarily controlled through baghouses (fabric filters chosen to remove particles down to a certain diameter, as specified by regulations applicable to the facility). The air-emissions control systems are continuously monitored to ensure compliance with the relevant state and federal standards.

Residual material from the combustion process is collected for automated processing. Ferrous and non-ferrous metals are extracted for recycling. Remaining residual materials (including fly ash) can sometimes be used as an aggregate admixture, or they can be disposed of via landfilling. The fly ash may be considered hazardous waste, in which case the destination landfill must be licensed to accept such waste.


Several of the company's facilities have been cited for air emissions violations and have experienced some labor relations disputes all of which have been settled appropriately. In 2001, Florida Department of Environmental Protection fined $104,100 (originally proposed $230,700) or $156,000 worth of "in-kind penalty projects" the Covanta Energy, formerly Ogden Corporation, for two mercury-pollution violations at the Okahumpka plant in 1998 and 1999.[3][4]

In 2006, the Hawaii Department of Health fined the company $6,200 for exceeded emissions limits for dioxin/furan and lead in 2005,[5] while the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection fined $45,600 in 2008 for the excessive toxic nickel and related compounds emission in 2006 at Chester.[6] In 2007, United States Department of Labor cited Covanta for the lack of employees safety in West Wareham,[7] while Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection cited them for excessive emissions at the facility in Wallingford.[8] In 2008, Florida DEP fined the company $11,100 for excessive emissions at Okahumpka,[9] New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection fined $14,025 for emissions at Newark between 2006 and 2008,[10] Pennsylvania DEP fined a total of $131,800 in 2009 for excessive emissions of sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen chloride and nitrogen oxide from 2004 to 2008 at Lancaster,[11] while Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection cited Covanta for exceeding the allowable emissions rate by nearly 350%, and fined them $7,653 for other violations.[12]

In 2009, United States DOL fined the firm $6,375 and $13,500 for safety violations,[13][14] New Jersey DEP issued fines of $20,000 and $26,900 for excessive emissions at a facility in Warren County from 2003 to 2007, and in Union County from 2007 to 2009.[15] For the dioxin emissions in Wallingford and Hartford they were fined $350,000.[16]

According to a press release issued on July 15, 2011 by The Connecticut Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), the company paid $400,000 in fines for a 2010 air emission violation (250% beyond safety limits)[16] at its Wallingford, CT facility. The press release also stated that the DEEP consulted with the Connecticut Department of Public Health and verified that despite the violation, the amount of emissions in the air in the vicinity of the facility was still within applicable health-based standards and did not pose a threat to public health.[17]

In 2015 were fined $80,100 for workplace dangers, including fire, falls and electrocution in their Bristol facility.[18]


  1. ^ Covanta Leadership: Sam Zell
  2. ^ a b c d e f
  3. ^ Kevin P. Connolly (23 June 2001). "Incinerator, State Strike A Deal". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  4. ^ Kevin P. Connolly (26 June 2001). "Covanta May Atone For Pollution By Educating Us". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  5. ^ "Department of Health, State of Hawaii, Complaint, vs. Honolulu Resource Recovery Venture (Docket No. 05-CA-EO-18)". 23 March 2006. 
  6. ^ "Covanta Delaware Valley Operating Permit Violations". Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. 20 October 2008. 
  7. ^ "Covanta Energy Corporation OSHA#310670724". United States Department of Labor. 29 October 2007. 
  8. ^ "Notice of Violation 16066". Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. 5 September 2007. 
  9. ^ "Proposed Settlement by Short Form Consent Order Covanta Lake II". Florida Department of Environmental Protection. 1 July 2008. 
  10. ^ "Enforcement Actions Issued at Site ID: 14211 Between 1/1/2004 and 2/5/2009 (Covanta Essex Co, NEA 080001, PI ID 07736)". New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. 5 February 2009. pp. 2–4. 
  11. ^ "Consent Assessment Of Civil Penalty Covanta Lancaster Inc". Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. 2 October 2009. 
  12. ^ "Administrative Consent Order With Penalty And Notice Of Noncompliance (File No. ACOP-WE-08-7004)". Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. 26 September 2008. 
  13. ^ "Invoice/Debt Collection Notice - Covanta Semass (In. No. 312101447)". United States Department of Labor. 6 April 2009. pp. 4–5. 
  14. ^ "Citation and Notice of Penalty - Covanta Semass (In. No. 312104748)". United States Department of Labor. 1 June 2009. 
  15. ^ "Enforcement Actions Issued at Site ID: 14556 Between 1/1/2009 and 10/2/2009 (Covanta Essex Co, NEA 080001, PI ID 07736)". New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. 5 February 2009. pp. 2–4. 
  16. ^ a b Brian Nearing (12 August 2011). "Covanta, seeking N.Y. renewable nod, pays $400,000 dioxin fine at Conn. trash-burn plant". Times Union. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  17. ^ "Settlement Reached with Covanta for Air Emissions Violations at Plant in Wallingford". Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  18. ^ Mara Lee (17 February 2015). "Covanta Energy Cited For Workplace Violations, Faces Fine Of $80,100". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 

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