ROCKLAND, Maine — The city manager has recommended that the community contract with a southern Maine company for the long-term disposal of solid waste.
City Manager James Chaousis recommended Friday to councilors that the city select ecomaine for waste disposal when Rockland’s contract with Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. ends in 2018.
The city council will consider that option when they meet again next Monday night.
Rockland also has been courted by the Municipal Review Committee, which recommended that municipalities support a proposal by Fiberight to build a waste processing facility in Hampden.
“The downside of the MRC option is too insurmountable,” Chaousis said in his memo to councilors. “There is tremendous uncertainty in this option. First, the Hampden facility is not currently constructed and will remain unbuilt until there are commitments from enough municipalities to guarantee the business model. It is uncertain whether the MRC will collect enough commitments from municipalities before May to guarantee this option. Some municipalities, like Rockland, on the southern extremities of MRC membership, are considering other options. There may not be enough remaining solid waste commitments to sustain the MRC option.
“The ecomaine model has survived changes in the commodities market, changes in recycling initiatives, and has adjusted for program success,” Chaousis said in support of going with ecomaine.
Last month, the boards of the Mid-Coast Solid Waste Corporation, which serves Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville and Hope, and the three-town cooperative that serves Thomaston, South Thomaston and Owls Head voted separately to recommend that their communities enter into a contract with ecomaine of Portland. Those towns also currently send their waste to the PERC incinerator in Orrington.
The manager said once the decision is made on which disposal option to use after 2018, the city needs to begin meaningful discussions to set environmental and sustainability goals, create policies and procedures, and analyze methods of waste diversion.
“This will take time, patience and a more focused group than the legislative body. I recommend that the city create a working group to tackle waste issues. The Solid Waste Working Group would be comprised of staff, stakeholders and experts,” he said.