MRC Board President Karen Fussell said the facility may not restart if the group can't find a private investor in the next six months.
Waste is processed at the trash facility in Hampden in this 2019 file photo. Credit: Sam Schipani / BDN

A nonprofit representing 115 towns in central, eastern and northern Maine has gone back to the drawing board in an effort to relaunch a waste facility in Hampden.

The Municipal Review Committee, which represents the waste interests of those towns, had been working with New York-based hedge fund Revere Capital Advisors to secure funding needed to upgrade and operate the waste plant, which the panel purchased last summer.

But a key deadline passed late last month without a purchase agreement with Revere. Now MRC Board President Karen Fussell said time is running out for a possible relaunch, and if the group can’t find a private investor in the next three to six months, the facility may not restart at all.

“Without this facility, our members would be looking at landfill as the most likely option in front of them,” she said Tuesday afternoon at a virtual town hall meeting of the Municipal Review Committee.

The plant, which the MRC has renamed as Municipal Waste Solutions, was designed to repurpose waste in a variety of ways. The goal was to keep more than half its waste out of the landfill or incinerator.

“Nobody wants our waste going to landfill. We want it to be diverted. We want it to be recycled,” Fussell said. “We want it to find productive use. That was the benefit and the hope and the promise of this facility, which we believe still can be realized. But we’re at a point where time is of the essence. We have no more time hoping to find a solution. It’s looking more and more like the solution is us.”

MRC members said Revere may still be interested in investing. But the committee has contacted 10 other entities that have asked about a potential partnership and is seeking solicitations.

The committee said it hopes to sign an agreement with a prospective partner and close on the deal by mid-April.

At the same time, MRC members said they will also appeal to state lawmakers for help. And the group is considering whether it could own and operate the waste plant entirely on its own.

Fussell said that if the Hampden facility doesn’t relaunch, it could be five to 10 years before the region has an alternative solution to landfilling. This comes at a time when Maine’s largest landfills have been filling up more quickly in recent years. The state has missed the mark in its goals to recycle or compost at least half of all municipal waste by 2021, according to a recent report from Maine’s Department of Environment Protection.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.