Weather may delay Fiberight plant opening

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The weather finally has slowed construction of a state of the art solid waste facility in Hampden, and preparations are being made for what seems to be a likelely delay in its opening.

The Fiberight facility came about after the Municipal Review Committee, the quasi-municipal entity that at the time represented more than 180 Maine communities in their trash disposal options, decided several years ago to part ways with PERC when the current contract expires this April. Concerns arose that solid waste disposal cost could rise significantly once subsidies PERC currently receives expire this year.

The MRC looked at several locations, including land in Argyle and Greenbush before settling on the Hampden site. While some communities – including Old Town and Milford – chose to go with other future solid waste options because the state-of-the-art Hampden facility will be the first of its kind in the this country, more than 100 other cities and towns chose to remain with the MRC and Fiberight.

In its most recent newsletter, the MRC said municipal slid waste could start going to Hampden as soon as the end of May, that doing so could interfere with construction that still may be ongoing and in addition increase delays in getting the plant up to full capacity.

“In the meantime, we are making preparations to implement, for up to 6 months, the back-up plan established in 2015 for disposal of MSW at the Crossroads Landfill until the Hampden Facility is ready,” write the MRC, which added it wanted to augment that plan by making new arrangements with PERC for temporary processing of MSW in 2018 until the Fiberight facility is ready.

Regardless, write that MRC, the extra reasonable transportation costs will be borne by MRC and/or Fiberight, not the member communities. The MRC set aside $1 million in reserve funds for the project for that purpose.