City negotiating agreement with transfer station operator

City negotiating agreement with transfer station operator

Plan for automated trash collection on target

PAWTUCKET – The Pawtucket Purchasing Board is in final negotiations with Waste Connections Inc., operator of the garbage transfer station on Grotto Avenue, on a new per-ton cost for continuing operations there.

Under the sole bid received by the city, WCI would build a new transfer station on the current site.

A letter from Public Works Director Eric Earls to the City Council detailing the proposal is on the meeting docket for tonight, Wednesday, May 20.

According to Earls, WCI’s bid consists of building a new facility, with associated site work, new scales, fresh asphalt and more improvements.

The city would be obligated to pay WCI a per-ton fee to process solid waste, recycling, yard waste and other materials in a capacity similar to the current operations, said Earls. The per-ton fee is being negotiated and would increase annually over 10 years. At that time the city would own the facility.

Earls said the administration appreciates the “total support and guidance” from the council, specifically working with Councilors Tim Rudd and Terry Mercer on the review of the proposal. Officials also relied on other sources, including Joe Reposa at Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp., for insight into the industry and on the WCI proposal.

“He indicated that the proposed per-ton prices for WCI to handle, process, and deliver the city’s waste to RIRRC in Johnston is an additional expense to get the upfront investment,” he said. “This is especially true considering that the city will own the facility after 10 years.”

City staffers have referred the proposal to the Purchasing Board for award, pending the negotiation of the final contract with WCI, said Earls, which Mercer and Rudd will be involved in.

In a post last week, Rudd reiterated that he has favored either shutting the facility down or limiting it to just city waste instead of allowing outsiders to bring trash in. He repeated that WCI has been running the facility for different companies “while running the facility into the ground with total disregard for our neighborhood,” with the west side of the city shouldering the burden.

Moving forward, he said there may be a time where the council gets to approve this proposal, and there need to be protections in place for the neighborhood and accountability for the operator.

According to Earls, automated trash collection in the city will be implemented this fall as previously discussed.

There are many pluses to automated collections that residents will benefit from, said Earls, including but not limited to:

• Heavy-duty bins that decrease loose trash blowing around neighborhoods and reduce access to trash for animals;

• Reducing contamination of recycling with trash because of clear, color-coded bins;

• And greater ease of use due to the wheels on the trash totes.

Earls said waste service provider MTG Disposal would fund the purchase of the new bins interest free in return for a five-year extension to the time of purchase for the bins. The purchase of the bins would be added to the next five years of the contract from September 2020 to August 2025.