Searsport authorizes MRC to look for future waste disposal solutions

By Dan West | Jan 14, 2014

The Searsport Selectmen agreed to sign on to a resolution that would allow the Municipal Review Comittee (MRC) to look a future disposal solutions for its municipal solid waste.

According to its website, MRC is a non-profit organization that represents 187 Maine municipalities, including Searsport, that have their municipal solid waste delivered to the Penobscot Energy Recovery Company (PERC) waste-to-energy facility. That facility is set to end its life in 2018.

MRC has begun to look at post-2018 plans for disposal of the waste, which could include extending its partnership with PERC or purchasing the PERC facility. Searsport Town Manager James Gillway told the selectmen at their Jan. 7 meeting that other likely options include moving to "single-sort" recycling similar to what is used by Portland. Gillway said MRC would look into possibly purchasing land to develop such a facility.

Gillway explained that the problem with moving to single sort is in the trucking costs, which would be prohibitive unless the trash were first compacted. He said that the Midcoast has been looked at to develop a facility that had access to a port to control the shipping cost.

Searsport Selectman Meredith Ares questioned whether approving a resolution supporting MRC's post-2018 planning would commit the town to any plan beyond what has already been agreed to. Gillway explained that MRC was only looking to evaluate the post-2018 options and any plans beyond the current waste disposal agreements would have to come before the select board.

"What we're saying is we want to give MRC the operating umbrella, the ability to go out and look for alternative ways to do this," Gillway said.

The selectmen approved the resolution unanimously.

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