Many Roles, One Mission for LCSWMA

Many Roles, One Mission

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority helps Lancaster county and surrounding counties disposes of waste through four main facilities to create sustainable energy for present and future generations.

By Juan Lopez

Photo by Juan Lopez

The LCSWMA is using The Integrated System to safely and efficiently dispose waste in a way that benefits the environment by combining their four main facilities. Each facility plays a specific role to make Lancaster and its numerous surrounding boroughs improve its sustainability.

The four components of the Integrated System that help approach the trash disposal and processing include;
  • The Transfer Station,
  • Household Hazardous Waste Facility,
  • Waste-to-Energy Facility
  • Frey Farm Landfill

Photo by LCSWMA Website

The LCSWMA was previously known as Lancaster Area Refuse Authority (LARA) in 1954, then in 1986 changed to LCSWMA to better fit the mission statement which is “Managing Waste as a Resource to Protect and Benefit Our Community”. Over the years the LCSWMA have used the facilities to organize recycling programs with local areas around Lancaster. The LCSWMA obtained an incinerator facility known as The Harrisburg Resource Recovery Facility also known as The Susquehanna Resource Management Complex (SRMC) helps the LCSWMA control and maintain the capacity of waste the facility can hold. With the continued growth of the LCSWMA the organization has focused to provide long-term sustainability.

Photo by Juan Lopez

Transfer Station Complex

The Transfer Station Complex located outside of Lancaster City is a drop-off location for trash, construction demolition waste, and single-stream recyclables. The waste goes through a security process to ensure the waste has no radiation and is also separated into recyclable materials. The community and local business can contribute to the recycling process. The waste is then loaded into trucks to be transport to the next destination which is the Lancaster Waste-To-Energy Facility. This facility also uses solar panels that produce up to 80% of the electric needs of the facility.

Lancaster Waste-To-Energy Facility

The Lancaster Waste-To-Energy Facility also partnered with Covanta Energy is in charge of creating renewable energy. More info on Lancaster Waste-To-Energy Facility

Hazardous Waste Facility

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority also provided the community with a Household Hazardous Waste Facility (HHW) that gives local Lancaster County residents a place to discard items that are considered hazardous such as batteries, fuels, fluorescent bulbs, and more. Only one HHW facility is located in Pennsylvania designated to help Lancaster and its residents have a convenient hazardous material disposal location to help the environmental sustainability.

Photo by Juan Lopez

Frey Farm Landfill Facility 

Once all the potential recycled energy is retrieved from the waste, the remaining solid waste has to be stored in the Frey Farm Landfill facility (FFLF). The FFLF stores the unrecyclable material in the landfill that is then covered when it reaches its max capacity with the ash produced from the waste-to-waste facility. The Frey Farm Landfill it expected to last until 2019 but the state has issued a permit for a 50-foot-high expansion. The expansion will add an additional 18 years of use. The landfill maintains and keeps its rigorous regulations to ensure that all rules are being met. The Department of Environmental Protection oversees the maintenance. In Pennsylvania the FFLF is the only landfill to maintain and exceed the requirements for both state and federal.At the Frey Farm Landfill there is also a commercial scale wind energy project. It generates energy for local Turkey Hill dairy manufacturing plant.

Photo from LCSWMA Website

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority has helped Lancaster and its surrounding communities “RETHINK” waste, “RECOVER” value from it, or take a “RENEWed” approach to minimizing the garbage footprint for present and future generations. The LCSWMA Integrated System helps reduce landfill capacity and creates renewable energy. To continue with the LCSWMA’s goal they offer tours of each facility to inform the community on how they can also contribute to the sustainability of Lancaster and its surrounding communities.

Expansion on Landfill

Image result for expansion of landfill lancaster

Picture from LancasterOnline

A vertical expansion is planned for the Frey Farm Landfill that will extend its capacity and give the landfill 18+ years of future use. The landfill is expected to reach max capacity by 2019. Mechanically stabilized earthen berms are going to be used to help reinforce the
land fill. The MSE is soil combined with artificial reinforcement material, this helps the topsoil and surrounding areas to continue and grow vegetation. While Lancaster County’s population continues to grow so does the waste, the Frey Farm Landfill will continue to serve as a place where all unrecyclable items are environmentally friendly stored.

Recycling symbol numbers

Photo by Juan Lopez

Not all plastic products are considered recyclable, the number inside the recycle symbol has more information than we know. Each plastic item is marked with a chasing arrows symbol and number inside that indicates if the item can be recycled or reused. The numbers go from one to seven each indicating the plastic codes. The numbers marked on the items serve as a sorting method to see where the materials are accepted or not accepted. Knowing what the numbers in the recycle symbol mean help us sort and understand if the material will be reused or recycled into something else or if it will end up in a landfill.

James D. Warner

Millersville alumni and now current chief executive officer of the Lancaster County Solid Waste Authority has been together with the company for over 30 years.James D. Warner has made the LCSWMA a national model for others to follow in its footsteps. Creating new initiatives while being very connected to the community has helped him reach to some of his career high points. James D. Warner will be stepping down by the end of 2018 after accomplishing many of his goals and helping Lancaster and its surrounding communities with help of the LCSWMA.

Recyclable Materials

Photo from Juan Lopez

The Lancaster County Solid Waste facility takes in various recyclable materials that can be dropped off at three of the LCSWMA location facilities. The LCSWMA works to eliminate waste and gain beneficial uses from it. These material include plastic, glass, aluminum, and steel items. After all the materials are sorted, they are transported to various facility’s where the organic material is used for mulch and other environmental uses. The recycled materials are used for many future products such as parts for a car, plane, and gym equipment. The LCSWMA has helps Lancaster and its community learn how to recycle.



Facility Tour Registration. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Frey Farm Landfill. (n.d.). Retrieved from

LCSWMA. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Nicnick, J., & Keenan Nagle Advertising Inc. (n.d.). #WASTEISARESOURCE. Retrieved from

Transfer Station Complex. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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