What happens to trash from towns in the Greater Hartford area could be much different in the future –from the looks of concepts submitted by three developers vying to work with the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA).
One-third of the state’s trash is currently processed at MIRA’s waste-to-energy facility on Maxim Road, Hartford, where material is combusted for energy generation. But, that facility is aging, and its owner, the quasi-public MIRA, has warned state officials that it would be unable to bear the cost of needed upgrades.
In response, the legislature directed the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) in Public Act 14-94 to identify a private developer to partner with MIRA to modernize the waste management system in central Connecticut, including significantly increasing the recovery of materials for recycling. Shifting the system to a public-private model could help save taxpayers $200 million in public funding needed to rehabilitate the existing facility.
After a lengthy RFP process, DEEP selected three developers to submit concepts:
· Covanta, a New Jersey-based waste-to-energy company that operates facilities in Connecticut and throughout the U.S.
· Mustang Renewable Power Ventures, a California-based development group that specializes in complex waste facility development projects.
· Sacyr-Rooney Recovery Team, an alliance between Spain-based Sacyr and Manhattan Construction.
Concepts in the three proposals extend from the extraction of organic materials from the waste stream to be treated using anaerobic digestion, to the recovery of additional metals, plastics and other recyclable commodities from waste, to the ramp-up of curbside collection of food scraps.
The three developers also take different approaches to the existing waste-to-energy facility, ranging from rehabilitating the current plant to closing it and shifting the processing to other facilities.
Any resulting project would likely take at least two years of planning and development, and would require environmental approvals as well as environmental justice review. Although not yet signing off on a final project, the statute calls for DEEP to select a qualified development team by December 2017 and direct MIRA to enter into an agreement to move forward.
Opportunities for Public Comment and Participation
o DEEP has posted details about the three concepts at www.ct.gov/DEEP/ResourceRediscovery, and is accepting comments through November 24, 2017.
o The public is invited to attend and informational meeting at DEEP headquarters, 79 Elm. St, Hartford, on November 14 at 4 p.m.