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Waterville, other communities to hear trash disposal alternative as PERC contracts near end

By Amy Calder | CentralMaine.com | February 2, 2016

Representatives from Fiberight, a waste to energy plant in Hampden, will speak to Waterville and Augusta-area officials about an option for municipal garbage disposal.

WATERVILLE — Area communities that send trash to Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. in Orrington will meet Wednesday night to hear a proposal about alternative trash disposal for when their contracts with PERC expire in 2018.

City Manager Michael Roy said Monday that the Municipal Review Committee, which represents Waterville and other communities, will discuss Fiberight, a trash disposal project the communities may use when their contracts with PERC expire. PERC has contracts with 86 Maine communties, and the trash to energy company has said that its rates will go up once agreements expire in 2018.

Waterville Public Works employees Brian Ames, left, and Larry Colson watch as a city garbage truck drops a load off at the Oakland transfer station in 2014. The transfer station hauls garbage from neighboring communities to the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co., in Orrington, but when that contract expires in 2018, rates will go up, and municipalities are looking for alternatives.

“Fiberight is a waste-to-energy plant that sorts out recyclables at the front end and converts organics and food waste from the remainder to gas which then can be sold as natural gas,” Roy said. “This is a very comprehensive project proposal.”

The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of The Center downtown. Besides Waterville officials, those from communities including Winslow, Oakland, Fairfield, Sidney, Vassalboro, China and Winthrop, among other communities, have been invited, Roy said.

“MRC went through a many month process of identifying options,” Roy said.

Each town will make its own decision about trash disposal, and many towns have committees working on the trash issue. Waterville Councilor Dana Bushee, D-Ward 6, is a member of Waterville’s solid waste advisory committee.

“This is an opportunity for all of us to hear this sales pitch at the same time,” Roy said of the Fiberight proposal.

He said that with the city’s contract with PERC expiring in two years, it is important to have an alternative site identified.

“I believe we’ll be going into a different system,” he said. “PERC people are making a case for their continued operation so that is a possibility, that some towns will stay with PERC, but it seems to me that this waste-to-energy approach is a much more advanced way of processing our waste in a very environmentally responsible manner.”

The public is invited to attend the meeting, he said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

acalder@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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