WALLINGFORD — Officials from each of the five municipalities under contract to send trash to Covanta Energy's Wallingford transfer station are debating whether to renew that contract, a decision that’s due this summer.
As Wallingford, Meriden, Cheshire, North Haven and Hamden officials consider options, they have also learned from Covanta that the company is in talks with a potential buyer.
Representatives of the five towns, who all send their trash to the 10-acre transfer station on South Cherry Street, met Tuesday to discuss a five-year renewal option. The option would start in 2020, but municipalities must notify Covanta of their decision by June 30, according to North Haven First Selectman Michael Freda.
Freda, Regional Solid Waste Project policy board chairman, said the transfer station offers a central location and “reasonable” tip rates, approximately $68.80 per ton.
“There’s great advantages for us having this transfer station in Wallingford,” Freda said. “There’s advantages in us renewing this contract.”
Covanta wants to sell the transfer station to another company, but hasn’t disclosed the name of the potential buyer. A spokesman for Covanta couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.
If Covanta does sell the transfer station, the buyer would be obligated to maintain the existing contract, Freda said.
“We would then, at that point, be in a situation which is business as usual,” he said. “All the terms of the contract would remain the same.”
The five towns moved in March 2018 to hire a consultant to help review their options.
Covanta has expressed a desire to close the Wallingford transfer station because of a declining volume of trash, making it less profitable.
Covanta approached the five municipalities in 2016 to propose closing the Wallingford transfer station and moving its trash processing from Wallingford to the company’s trash-to-energy facility in Bristol. As part of the proposal, Covanta offered financial incentives, but municipalities rejected the offer because they said the incentives did not outweigh the higher costs to haul trash to a location farther away.
Covanta’s contract with the municipalities includes a clause that allows Covanta to shut down the Wallingford station if the annual waste tonnage falls below 48,000 tons.
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