Lehrke, Hegberg explore waste management options for counties at forum

Washington County Commissioners Autumn Lehrke and Dennis Hegberg were among 50 county government officials and key staff from across the country who participated in the National Association of Counties’ (NACo) 2012 County Forum on Innovative Waste Management May 24 and 25 in Broward County, Fla., association officials said.

The forum’s purpose was sharing innovative county strategies to divert waste from landfills and identify ways to generate new revenue sources.

Lehrke serves District 4 in Washington County, and Hegberg serves District 1.

Forum sessions explored cutting-edge waste management technologies used to divert waste and generate revenue, including unique recycling programs, waste/landfill gas-to-energy, and community-wide waste management planning. Participants toured the Broward County Materials Recovery Facility, a 100,000-square-foot center that processes more than 500 tons of recyclables from Broward County and area partner cities.

The program featured speakers from a variety of county agencies and the recycling industry, including Broward County Vice Mayor Kristin Jacobs, Chaz Miller, director of state programs at the National Solid Wastes Management Association, and Jeremy O’Brien, director of applied research for the Solid Waste Association of North America.

"The forum was extremely informative as we consider innovative ways to deal with difficult waste management issues," Lehrke said. "I left the forum with several new and interesting ideas on waste management from national county and industry leaders that could possibly be implemented here in Washington County."

Cook County, Ill., Commissioner and NACo Green Government Advisory Board Chairman Gregg Goslin said NACo forums provide unique opportunities for idea-sharing among county leaders across the country.

"With county landfill space at a premium, counties need to think creatively right now about waste management options and develop innovative long-term plans that are right for their communities," Goslin said.

The forum was made possible by support from NACo’s Green Government partners. More information about the forum is available at www.naco.org.

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