Sunday, July 03, 2022

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State’s Issues with Garbage to Affect Deep River

Controversial changes to the state’s garbage collection and disposal system have prompted the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA) to request letters of support from the municipalities it serves, to gauge support for continued operations.

Deep River, which has a service agreement with MIRA for its solid waste and recycling, voted to move forward with a non-binding letter at its Feb. 25 Board of Selectman (BOS) meeting.

First Selectman Angus McDonald stated that nothing will change about the town’s relationship with MIRA at this time.

“This is not anything that is imminent, not immediate…no emergency right now for Deep River. Simply, MIRA is going through changes [and] as a result, we will be looking at options, just like for anything, we are looking at all of our options,” said McDonald.

“For right now, all this letter is saying is, ‘We have enjoyed our time with MIRA and hopefully [will] stay with MIRA’…We’re not saying ‘No’ to MIRA,” he added.

The request by MIRA comes at a time when the quasi-public state agency’s facilities in the South Meadows area of Hartford are badly in need of repairs.

This location, considered the hub of the Connecticut Solid Waste system, is home to a single-stream recycling center and an old coal-fired plant retrofitted to burn waste materials for electricity.

To help fund MIRA’s redevelopment effort, which is being done with the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, tipping fees for the approximately 70 municipalities with which it has a service agreement will increase for fiscal year 2021.

The BOS discussed the issue at its Feb. 11 regular meeting, with McDonald stating that Deep River’s tipping fee, the rate the town is charged per ton of solid waste, will increase from $85 to $92.

In fiscal year 2019, Deep River sent 3,121 tons of solid waste and 376 tons of recyclables to MIRA, according to the organization’s online tonnage reports.

MIRA anticipates a maximum tipping fee of $145 per ton of solid waste in 2025.

“There is no question that changes are happening in Connecticut as to what we do with our waste,” said McDonald. “It is getting more expensive, but there is not an emergency right now. We are just going to explore our options when the time comes.”

Elizabeth Reinhart covers news for Chester, Deep River, and Essex for Zip06. Email at .

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