February 28, 2024

Grant Programs - Organics Diversion


Organics diversion is a hot topic, highlighting the need for more recycling to help communities benefit from methane emission reductions and decarbonization. Methane emissions from organic waste, such as food and plants, are largely preventable and comprise a significant portion of the U.S. waste stream. That makes actions to reduce these emissions popular, such as diverting waste from landfills, establishing recycling and composting programs, and energy recovery from organic materials – they create social and economic opportunities. At the same time, the programs make significant progress toward climate action goals.

Federal Grant Funding

The U.S. government has grant funding available to assist state and local government and non-profit organizations in increasing organic diversion. Currently, several agencies and departments have grants available. These are the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Finding the Right Grant

ReFED has partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council to develop a Federal Grants Database to provide a centralized place to identify funding. The Resources and Guides | ReFED database provides the grant name, the agency, a description, the deadlines, the eligibility, a link to the grant, and other useful information.

EPA’s current grant programs are:

  • Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Grants (SWIFR)
  • Recycling Education and Outreach Grants

At least eight of the SWIFR grants are organics-related, and the communities that are taking advantage of them are as follows:

  • City of Stamford, Connecticut – $2,016,941 for food scrap collection and compost project
  • City of Providence, Rhode Island – $3,348,166 to expand food waste diversion and recycling infrastructure.
  • Chemung County, New Jersey – $1,697,250 for a new compost facility
  • Municipality of Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico – $4,000,000 to expand curbside recycling and organics collection.
  • City of Baltimore, Maryland – $4,000,000 to develop a composting facility.
  • City of Iowa City, Iowa – $4,000,000 to expand composting facility.
  • City of Bozeman, Montana – $1,6505,660 for residential collection infrastructure for organic diversion.
  • City of Logan, Utah – $4,000,000 to expand composting.
  • Hawai’i County Hawai’i – $1,522,130 for reusable foodware infrastructure
  • City of Ontario, California – $3,571,064 to optimize materials management infrastructure and digital food donation marketplace.
  • Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska – $3,540,340 to create a compost facility and collection network.

More details on each of these projects are here.

EPA also has the Climate Pollution Reduction Grants that the states and other regional authorities will administer. The states and regional authorities are developing their implementation plans for these grants. SCS Engineers expects food scrap and composting projects to be some of the many projects eligible for these grants. 

DOE has two grant programs:

  • Waste-to-energy technical assistance for local governments and
  • BIL for energy improvements in rural or remote areas (ERA). Organics projects must include a clean energy component such as biogas utilization to quality.

USDA has several grant opportunities related to food waste, including:

  • USDA Solid Waste Assistance grants and
  • Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) Sustainable Agricultural Systems competitive grants.

In January, the USDA announced an investment of approximately $11.5 million in 38 cooperative agreements that support innovative, scalable waste management plans to reduce and divert food waste from landfills. The Composting and Food Waste Reduction cooperative agreements, which the American Rescue Plan Act funds, are part of USDA’s broad support for urban agriculture.

Among the projects, the Southeastern Connecticut Regional Resources Recovery Authority proposes to construct and operate southeastern Connecticut’s first and only commercial-scale food waste composting facility, creating the necessary infrastructure to divert the region’s organic material from the municipal solid waste stream, generate a local source of high-quality compost, and increase awareness of the importance of food waste reduction and recycling. SCS assisted with the design and permitting of this project.

The USDA’s Fertilizer Production Expansion Program (FPEP) provides grants to help eligible applicants increase or expand the manufacturing and processing of fertilizer and nutrient alternatives in the United States. The Compost Crew in Maryland has received tentative notice of funding for a new compost facility. SCS assisted with the design of this project.

For States and Communities Getting Started

Historically, feasibility studies and pilot programs make excellent first steps toward decarbonization, recycling, composting, and zero waste programs. Many states and communities start with waste composition and feasibility studies or pilot programs.

Truly sustainable programs balance economic, environmental, and social factors to ensure they work long-term and comply with grant terms. These services are available from reputable sustainable materials management engineers and consultants who understand all aspects of solid waste management and federal and local air, water, and soil regulations.


Additional Resources:


Dana Blumberg (Murray)About the Author: Dana Murray Blumberg, PE, is SCS Engineers’ Vice President for International Services and our National Expert on Federal Services. She has three decades of professional experience in civil/environmental engineering, including landfill gas emissions modeling and collection system design; landfill gas energy technology evaluation, feasibility analysis, energy user outreach and analysis; landfill closures; transfer station design and construction; and stormwater hydrology and hydraulics.





Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

January 18, 2024

Join SCS Engineers at Green Technology’s Sustainable Facilities Forum on May 9 at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center in Sacramento, CA.

The conference will highlight strategies, best practices and technologies behind successful public sector facility projects. The event includes access to education sessions, live keynote, annual leadership awards presentations and to the sustainable products and services displays.

The concurrent sessions offer insights from the experts and practitioners at the leading edge of green progress, in fields ranging from transportation and energy to funding, architecture and green schools. Stroll through the exhibit space and discover dozens of green products and services all in one place. Find out what’s new and get an intensive, hands-on education that’s not available anywhere else!

The Forum is designed for public and private sector professionals engaged in facility project design, decarbonization, water conservation, electric vehicle and electric vehicle infrastructure.

Check the conference site for more details and information.



Posted by Brianna Morgan at 11:35 am

September 5, 2023

Hear from SCS Engineers experts at the Green California Schools & Higher Education Summit and Expo, October 17, in Pasadena. The summit will explore “California Continuing the March for Decarbonization.”

This year’s education program will conduct extensive outreach and surveying to identify what matters most to participants.

SCS experts are presenting, including:

Michelle Leonard, Senior Vice President, SCS Engineers, will present on “Why Are You Wasting Food?”

This session will provide information on the types of food waste that is generated in schools, and the methods that schools can use to reduce the amount of wasted food and to recover and recycle food scraps. The information is based on experience at school districts and community colleges in California.

Be part of the community that leads the way in making California’s schools and higher education sector’s among the leaders driving the State’s decarbonization efforts. Hear from thought leaders and content experts in design and construction as well as experts in maintenance and operations from campuses across the state. Learn about the challenges and solutions as the State drives the transportation sector toward 100% renewables.

Click for more conference details and registration information.  We hope to see you there!



Posted by Laura Dorn at 6:07 pm

August 17, 2023

Meet SCS Engineers professionals at the National Carbon Capture Conference & Expo, November 7-8, at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.

The conference is produced by Carbon Capture Magazine to advance technology and policy within the carbon capture, utilization, & storage industry.

Elliott Candy at national carbon capture conferenceHear from SCS Senior Project Professional, Candy Elliott, presenting
Carbon Capture and Sequestration and Environmental Justice
[Wed, Nov 8, 9:00 – 10:30 am Session]

Abstract:  A critical part of any Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) project is identifying and addressing Environmental Justice concerns.  Class VI well permit applications require an Environmental Justice Review, yet there is little guidance on structure and content. While data and data sources are plentiful, a systematic approach to synthesizing and presenting those data has yet to be established. Consistently, questions arise including:  Which demographic information is applicable to the project? How do we present and compare data? How will the project affect current environmental concerns for the project area? How do we identify stakeholders and, once identified, how do we perform effective outreach? This presentation will provide both an overview of the EJ review process and examples of targeted, effective community outreach implemented in pending Class VI permit applications. Using these proven techniques can help achieve your permitting and construction goals while supporting your community.

We hope to see you there!  Early Bird registration ends October 18.  Click for more conference details.


Podcast Preview





Posted by Laura Dorn at 12:20 pm

May 15, 2023

Join SCS Engineers professionals at the IEA’s 39th Annual Environmental Training Symposium & Conference, June 1-2, at the San Diego Convention Center.

This conference includes over two dozen educational sessions on four tracks running simultaneously over two days, and features a robust Exhibit Hall, an Awards Luncheon, and a San Diego Bay Yacht Cruise. Panels topics will include air, hazardous materials, health & safety, sustainability, and water quality, with expert speakers from Southern California.

Hundreds of attendees from various professions such as environmental, health, and safety experts, NGO representatives, environmental engineers from public and private sectors, environmental consultants and attorneys, government affairs representatives, DoD, and many more are expected to attend.

Click for more details and registration information.  Hope to see you there!



Posted by Laura Dorn at 6:02 pm

September 9, 2021

Hydrogen, a Low-Carbon Pathway to Decarbonization in the U.S. SCS Engineers
Hydrogen can be used across multiple sectors to enable zero or near-zero emissions in chemical and industrial processes, integrated clean energy systems, and transportation. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) supports the research and development of a wide range of technologies to produce hydrogen economically and via net-zero-carbon pathways.


Progressive energy companies are rushing to corner the growing hydrogen market, excited as they see this renewable fuel’s cost steadily drop and as they prioritize decarbonization.

As they work to stay ahead of the pack, they need to put time and thought into building out and implementing these projects. There are complex technical and regulatory considerations; safety is also priority one at every step when managing this flammable, compressed gas.

As the market takes off, there is a need for scaled development along the whole supply chain, and some developers are rising to the occasion for more control and more opportunity. Rather than only build fueling stations, they buy into vertically integrated hydrogen networks to produce, transport and distribute hydrogen. But these multifaceted projects present even more complexity— calling for a team with highly specialized, comprehensive skill sets.

SCS Engineers supports energy companies and contractors looking to diversify their hydrogen services portfolio to include building production plants, including moving the gas via pipeline or truck to offload at fueling stations, ultimately selling to consumers.

“We enter these strategic partnerships to give our clients what they are looking for: a full spectrum of competencies and services; and a proven history of working on hydrogen to deliver turnkey projects. The idea is to take the environmental burden off clients as they pursue these major undertakings,” says Nathan Eady, an SCS vice president, and project manager.

SCS makes site selection; performs environmental due diligence and remediation; feasibility analysis; design and construction of environmental controls; land use, air, and water quality permitting.

The contractors’ specializations are detailed design, engineering, and construction management–from civil to structural to mechanical and fire protection.

This team meets all environmental and regulatory design requirements and develops process safety management and risk management plans with their combined expertise. They also take on the role of community educator, explaining the unique attributes of hydrogen and easing any concerns.

“We take science and engineering and translate that for neighbors and city councils. It’s important to show communities, as well as regulators, that these facilities are designed and operated with the utmost safety,” Eady says.

Requirements vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. But with a national reach, SCS sails through processes and regulations by region.

“That matters to our clients; they want to get through the detailed permitting steps and launch as soon as they can to maintain their competitive edge. And when they plan to expand into other regions, they like to know they already have a vetted team in place who knows the territory and can do the work there,” he says.

Permitting and technical considerations vary by location and production method, whether via steam methane reforming (SMR) or electrolysis.


Hydrogen, a Low-Carbon Pathway to Decarbonization
Courtesy of USDOE, Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. CCUS (carbon capture, utilization, and storage) includes SMR- steam methane reforming; ADG – anaerobic digester gas; STCH – solar thermochemical hydrogen; PEC – photoelectrochemical.


Some operators are taken off-guard by the air quality permitting requirements associated with SMR facilities − or the stringent wildlife and water quality regulations encountered with the larger footprint photovoltaic systems requiring open space to support electrolysis. SCS has the expertise to address the issues, whether state-specific cap and trade regulations for carbon emissions or air basin specific criteria pollutants. SCS also has the unique talent of finding brownfield sites or closed landfill properties, making excellent receiver sites for electrolysis and solar facilities near existing infrastructure.

Building hydrogen projects on these idle properties can save developers significant time and money in the overall project outcome.

“We do a lot of brownfield work helping to clean and redevelop these properties. These sites have special permitting considerations, especially since they typically have a history of industrial use,” Eady says.

SCS performs Phase I Assessments to research records on previous use, and if the team finds a potential problem, they move to Phase II, which entails groundwater and soil testing.

“If we find evidence of existing contamination, we reconcile it so our clients can move forward with the development of their new facilities,” Eady says.

SCS is seeing a growing interest in building hydrogen projects on closed landfills. As brownfields, they have value for their open space and often have some existing infrastructure, offsetting the cost of building new.

“We have done permitting and design work on several closed landfills, sometimes adding solar systems. Hydrogen projects leveraging electrolysis require a tremendous amount of electricity, and when we can bypass the grid enabling clients to make their own electricity, it’s a major plus,” Eady says.

Lately, large energy companies are pivoting from conventional oil and gas to hydrogen, and some smaller, young companies are also joining the clean renewables movement.

SCS has gotten interest from startups looking to obtain government grants and subsidies. Some of these firms need more process engineering support to ensure their new technology can operate at a cost and environmental efficacy equivalent to larger operations.

“We use our knowledge gained working with major conventional energy companies to support these new hydrogen firms in executing successful launches. All in all, a positive trend.”

Together, SCS and its partners play an integral role in helping to see hydrogen continue to climb the energy sector ranks, maintaining an excellent record of accomplishment supporting the planning-design-build of clean-energy plants.


Additional Resources






Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

February 27, 2019

An aggressive carbon abatement goal often referred to as deep decarbonization, requires systemic changes to the energy economy. The scale and complexity of these projects are enormous, but achievable in our children’s lifetime. Legal Pathways recently published a legal toolkit Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States containing key recommendations and information from its larger publication to be released later this year. Both are a treasure trove for public and private decision-makers who desire pathways to a smaller carbon footprint.

The slimmer version works as a legal guide for businesses and municipalities interested in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the U.S. While each entity may draw on some, but not all, of the publication, it is a significant resource for public and private decision-makers who desire, or are working toward meeting stricter regulatory policies.

The authors identify all the legal options for enabling the U.S. to start addressing a monumental environmental challenge. Decision-makers can use combinations of resources to achieve their desired goals by employing these legal tools.

Thirty-four chapters cover energy efficiency, conservation, and fuel switching; electricity decarbonization; fuel decarbonization; carbon capture and negative emissions; non-carbon dioxide climate pollutants, and a variety of crosscutting issues.1 Each topic area identifies the main legal issues; then covers the options involving federal, state, and local laws.

With enough detail for readers to comprehend pathways best suited for them, the book is written for those who do not have legal or environmental engineering backgrounds. The authors include options even if they are not politically realistic now, recognizing that some may have value over time by becoming a legal pathway.

Get started by downloading this informative Environmental Law Institute publication.

Integrated planning leads to success; these are SCS Engineers’ low carbon technologies and renewable energy services.


Notes and Citations

1 “Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States,” by M. Gerrard and J. Dernbach, Editors, 2019, Retrieved from







Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am