Massive, aging Hartford trash incinerator to close in 2022 

With the prospect of costly remediation seemingly exhausted and energy revenues expected to continue to decline, the quasi-public overseer of an aging Hartford waste incinerator on the banks of the Connecticut River says the facility will close in mid-2022.

Tom Kirk, president of the Agency for Materials Innovation and Recycling (MIRA), said in an interview on Tuesday that the agency plans to move up to 680 tons of waste per day to landfills as far as Ohio starting in July 2022 after the plant in Mid-Connecticut closes .

“Without a significant injection of capital, the facility will not continue to operate,” said Kirk.

The change is significant to Connecticut as the facility burns about a third, or about 700,000 tons, of government waste every year. Kirk estimates that MIRA and Connecticut private hauliers could export over 1 million tons of waste after the plant closes.

The immediate financial impact on the 50 MIRA-contracted municipalities through 2027, which currently pay $ 91 per tonne to dispose of their waste, as well as the impact on the broader waste transportation industry are unclear.

Kirk noted that more landfills have recently closed or are due to close in the near future, including in New York and Massachusetts. Connecticut has closed virtually all of its landfills over the years as it has shifted to a waste-energy strategy and focused on increasing the removal of recyclables from the waste stream.

Currently, however, there is still an appetite from a number of landfills in various states to accept waste, added Kirk, who said burying trash is a high-margin business.

“There will certainly be an impact,” said Kirk. “I don’t think it will be cheaper to get rid of rubbish in the future.”
Kirk suspects that smaller private freight forwarders in particular could be hurt by the closure of the facility, which has turned down no deal and has acted as a safe and predictable place to dispose of waste when needed.

“We have never turned a customer away in our 30 years,” said Kirk. “That is a great advantage for a service provider that may be lost.”

The future of the Hartford plant has been in question for some time after government-mandated negotiations with a Spanish company called Sacyr-Rooney to refurbish key infrastructure at the plant failed to reach an agreement earlier this year.
This prompted MIRA to ask the state to borrow about $ 330 million to save the facility.

Governor Ned Lamont turned down that infusion proposal back in July, saying he couldn’t justify the taxpayer’s investment in a decade-old facility that has suffered costly component failures in recent years, and is also turning down Hartford officials who say residents of the city City shouldn’t have borne the health impact of burning roughly two-thirds of Connecticut’s solid waste.

While Lamont and his Department of Energy and Environment (DEEP) were dissatisfied with MIRA’s plan to convert the facility into a transfer station, Lamont described a permanent transfer operation as a “non-starter,” and DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said more composting Part of the answer: Exporting waste will become the main state reality unless major investments are made in other technologies, Kirk said.

“This is a function of necessity,” he said. “There is no plan.”

DEEP did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday morning, but Dykes recently told WNPR that the state was facing a waste crisis and that their agency was working with 70 cities to reduce the size of the waste stream. Strategies under review by the Connecticut Coalition for Sustainable Materials Management include collecting organics, increasing recycling, guidelines for consumers and post-pay businesses, and measures to reduce manufacturer packaging.

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