Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Virtual Burn: LCSWMA offers online tour of Harrisburg waste facility

Screenshot from the Susquehanna Resource Management Facility virtual tour.

There’s a new way for Harrisburg residents to see and learn about where their trash goes when it leaves their homes.

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) has recently launched a virtual tour of the Susquehanna Resource Management Facility, formerly known as the Harrisburg incinerator.

“We have found that the best way for people to truly understand what we do as an organization is to take people through to tour it,” said Katie Sandoe, head of communications and public affairs at LCSWMA.

Through the online resource, people can explore a 360-degree view of various parts of the center, including the scalehouse, tipping floor and turbine generator. Additional videos, pictures and a virtual tour guide explain the process of turning waste into electricity.

Sandoe said that LCSWMA takes various groups through tours of the facility regularly, but started to rethink how they could do that during the pandemic.

“We reimagined how we can bring the immersive experience of touring the facility to people where they’re at,” she said. “It’s become a great way for us to amplify our outreach.”

LCSWMA has virtual tours for two of its other facilities, the Transfer Station Complex in Lancaster and Lancaster Waste-to-Energy Facility. They are currently working on creating one for their final location, the Frey Farm Landfill in Lancaster.

Whereas LCSWMA can typically only conduct around 2,000 tours across its facilities in a good year, Sandoe said, over 10,000 people have already completed the virtual tours.

Sandoe hopes that the virtual tours will increase accessibility for people who may not have been able to tour the site in person due to physical challenges or disabilities.

She also sees them as a tool for educators to use in the classroom, especially as part of a STEM curriculum.

Otherwise, it’s a great resource for community members who are simply interested in what the complex does. Many people have heard of the incinerator, but don’t really know what happens at the complex, Sandoe said.

“Typically it’s curiosity that leads people to us,” she said. “People are just interested in how something is made.”

To virtually tour LCSWMA’s Susquehanna Resource Management Facility, visit their website.  

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