Partner Spotlight:  Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority

We’ve all become more grateful for the outdoor recreation spaces since the global pandemic shuttered our favorite restaurants, businesses, and community spaces. Maybe you’ve never visited these trails before, or you’ve just recently realized their significance. Outdoor recreation spaces, natural habitats, preserves, and trails have greatly expanded along the Susquehanna over the past 20 years. At SNHA, we work with great organizations to grow outdoor recreation opportunities and preserve our natural and cultural heritage. We want to share with you our SNHA partners and their great contributions to our Heritage Area. Partners bring funding support, unique talents, and a collaborative passion for the river.

The Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority (LCSWMA) has committed to enhancing the recreational opportunities and quality of life in areas where LCSWMA has major facilities. There are two LCSWMA facilities along the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County, which include the Lancaster Waste-to-Energy Facility in Bainbridge that combusts waste to make electricity for our community and the Frey Farm Landfill in Manor Township. LCSWMA has made a proactive commitment to the river and its assets for over a decade. SNHA’s ten-year partnership with LCSWMA has focused on enhancing the heritage, outdoor recreation, and environmental qualities of the Susquehanna River as it flows through our region. LCSWMA’s financial investment and professional support for SNHA’s vision and mission has been vital for our efforts to connect people to the river and its history. With LCSWMA as a partner, SNHA has been able to promote the heritage and economic vitality of the Susquehanna River corridor.

Lancaster’s Riverfront Projects

LCSWMA owns over 1,000 acres of land, most of which is along the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County. The land is used to manage waste in a sustainable and an environmentally safe manner, as well as utilized to increase the livability of our community. Let’s explore some of their projects along Lancaster County’s riverfront.

Northwest Lancaster County River Trail – LCSWMA helped develop the trail, including constructing the Shock’s Mill Bridge river walkway. The walkway was renamed in 2019 to honor retired LCSWMA CEO James D. Warner. Warner transformed the county’s waste authority by expanding its renewable energy footprint and building quality-of-life projects for the community.

Since trail planning began, LCSWMA has provided financial and professional support. They also committed funds to develop the Rt.441 truck bypass in Columbia, which brought the NW River Trail into town. As the trail nears completion, LCSWMA continues to support final construction efforts, public community events on the trail, and future trail expansion efforts. They recently partially funded a study for a trail connection to the Enola Low Grade Rail Trail.

Chestnut Grove Natural Area – Near the Frey Farm Landfill in Manor Township, the Chestnut Grove Natural Area is an impressive restoration project completed by LCSWMA.  LCSWMA transformed this previous farmland into a 170-acre nature preserve. This scenic preserve offers 4.5 miles of walking, hiking, and equestrian trails that explore wetlands, grasslands, wildflower meadows, and the River Hills. The area also connects to regional trails including the Turkey Hill Trail and the Enola Low Grade Rail Trail.


Rieber House – This family farmhouse played a significant role in founding the United Brethren Church in Pennsylvania, likely built around 1750. The Germanic-style home, which sat in a small hollow, was in severe disrepair. Instead of tearing it town, LCSWMA partnered with the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster to move the structure—stone by stone—to a new location. LCSWMA then restored the structure and uses it to welcome visitors, as a public meeting space, and to exhibit the Rieber Family story.


Transforming Waste into a Resource

LCSWMA has tackled green energy projects in amazing ways and taken innovative steps to reduce the impact of our community’s waste on the environment. One of the ways they succeed is by extracting the most value from our waste. For example, LCSWMA’s Lancaster Waste-to-Energy Facility combusts waste and creates electricity—enough to power the equivalent of 1 in 5 area homes. The facility also recovers and recycles valuable metals from the post-combusted waste. Additionally, the Lancaster WTE Facility produces steam for the neighboring Perdue Soybean Processing Facility, which is used to power some of their operations instead of fossil fuels.

LCSWMA has also taken the initiative to green its operations.  The authority converted its fleet of trash-transfer trucks to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) and provide CNG refueling to area fleets as well. This project reduces over 10 million pounds of air pollutants each year! Additionally, over 2,000 solar panels on four buildings at LCSWMA’s Transfer Station creates enough renewable energy to offset 80% of the site’s annual electric needs.

At the Frey Farm Landfill, LCSWMA captures gas from landfilled waste and combusts it to create electricity. Additionally, two GE wind turbines on nonoperational portions of the landfill site generate power for the neighboring Turkey Hill Dairy manufacturing plant. Installed in 2010, the turbines overlook the Susquehanna River, catching the prevailing winds from the northwest. These wind turbines power nearly a quarter of Turkey Hill’s annual electric needs. How much is that in ice cream? About 5-6 million gallons.

These are just some of the projects that LCSWMA has completed along the river in Lancaster County. To see their recreation projects throughout Lancaster and in Dauphin Counties, visit their Waste Give Back – Public Recreation page. Visit to learn more or follow LCSWMA on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.