Western Connecticut Council of Governments

Regional Waste Management

Regional Waste Management Study

Project Background

Currently, municipalities in the region operate transfer stations or comparable services. With changing dynamics in the waste market, including increases in solid waste and recycling tipping fees, the cost of operating and accepting waste at transfer stations is also increasing.  Solutions to these problems exist (e.g., pay as you throw, separate collection of specialized waste) – however, the fragmentation of station operations may diminish the return on investment for such solutions.

Operating hours and services at many transfer stations in the region are limited, potentially inconveniencing residents and businesses, and contributing to improper or suboptimal disposal.

Sharing or consolidation of transfer station operations could provide:

  • economies of scale in management, operations, and disposal, reducing the cost of waste to municipalities and to households and businesses;
  • a sufficient volume of waste for the dedicated collection and appropriate disposal of special wastes that may not be accepted by all stations (e.g., batteries, smoke detectors, electronics, pharmaceuticals, paint, clothing, compost);
  • the critical mass to deploy service-enhancing or cost-limiting technology, and
  • longer operating hours and improved service for users – reducing their costs, facilitating proper disposal of special wastes, reducing household waste volumes, and benefiting the environment.

Sharing or consolidation of stations could result in longer travel distances for some users; however, it could also decrease distances, and service enhancement may attract more customers.

Project Framework

The project evaluated the feasibility and potential savings of the sharing or consolidation of municipal transfer station facilities and operations in eight communities within the Western Connecticut Planning Region. Using a consultant with experience in the area of waste management and disposal, the project:

  1. Evaluated costs and operations at all transfer stations in the region.
  2. Determined achievable economies of scale and no-cost service improvements through the consolidation of transfer station facilities and operations.  Both enlargement of existing stations, as well as creation of new stations were considered.
  3. Developed conceptual plans for the consolidation of two transfer station facilities.

Due to the large population and geographic extent of the region, the project did not propose consolidation to a single transfer station.  The project considered a range of ownership, governance, operations, and financial models for intermunicipal waste transfer services, including regional, interlocal entity, intermunicipal contracting, and nonprofit options.

Project Management and Delivery

WestCOG retained the services of Barton & Loguidice Engineers (B&L) to develop this Project.  The project involved interaction with an advisory committee consisting of persons with expertise in the respective area and/or responsibility for implementation.  Recommendations and implementation plans were developed with consultation of and involvement of the committee and of WestCOG.

Responsibility for execution of the implementation plans will be a local responsibility, with WestCOG playing a supporting role if requested.

For more information, contact Todd Fontanella of the WestCOG staff at (475) 323-2076 or by email at tfontanella@westcog.org