Regional Waste Management

Project Background

Currently, municipalities in the region operate transfer stations or comparable services. With changing dynamics in the waste market, including rises in solid waste and recycling tipping fees, the cost of operating and accepting waste at transfer stations is 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 service 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 household/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 will evaluate the feasibility and potential savings of the sharing or consolidation of municipal transfer station facilities and operations in the Western Connecticut Planning Region. Using a consultant with experience in the area of waste management and disposal, the project will:

  1. Evaluate costs and operations at all transfer stations in the region.
  2. Determine 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 will be considered.
  3. Create a shortlist of realistic and feasible consolidation scenarios for presentation to and discussion with the municipalities involved.
  4. Based on these discussions, develop implementation plans for an orderly transition to consolidated transfer station facilities. The plans will identify a range of expected costs, timelines, necessary legal/contractual arrangements, critical steps/paths, and assignment of responsibility for implementation.

Due to the large population and geographic extent of the region, it is not expected that the project will propose consolidation to a single transfer station.  The project will consider 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 has retained the services of Barton & Loguidice Engineers (B&L) to develop this Project.  B&L may accomplish its work under this RFP by conducting:

  • qualitative/quantitative research/analysis;
  • focus groups, interviews, surveys and other methods to collect stakeholder input, and
  • facilitating meetings and/or workshops with municipal officials to collect data and arrive at shared understandings.

The Consultant will prepare:

  • an inventory of all costs and operations of existing transfer stations;
  • a shortlist of realistic and feasible consolidation scenarios for presentation to and discussion with participating municipalities, and
  • implementation plans for transition to consolidated transfer station facilities.  The plans will identify a range of expected costs, timelines, necessary legal/contractual arrangements, critical steps/paths, and assignment of responsibility for implementation.

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

The project will involve interaction with an advisory committee consisting of persons with expertise in the respective area and/or responsibility for implementation.  Recommendations and implementation plans will be developed with consultation of and involvement of the committee and of WestCOG.

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

Project Start: September 2020

Anticipated Completion: Spring 2021