Awaiting a fresh start for the Hampden Waste Facility
By Karen Fussell and Tony Smith The Municipal Review Board is a nonprofit organization representing 115 Maine communities that have come together to ensure the affordable, long-term, and environmentally sound disposal of their municipal solid waste. Earlier this year, the MRC took steps to force the sale of the currently closed solid waste treatment facility in Hampden.
By Karen Fussell and Tony Smith
The Municipal Review Board is a nonprofit organization representing 115 Maine communities that have come together to ensure the affordable, long-term, and environmentally sound disposal of their municipal solid waste.
Earlier this year, the MRC took steps to force the sale of the currently closed solid waste treatment facility in Hampden. As a result, the MRC now owns a state-of-the-art facility worth over $80 million and the land on which it sits.
The MRC is excited about this new opportunity – for increased recycling, for less waste to landfill, to help the state meet its climate goals.
The plant is in good working order. During its closure, the MRC monitored the plant’s control systems and equipment and kept it warm during the cold winter months.
We know that factory technology works. It operated successfully for the seven months prior to its closure, demonstrating its ability to accept and process waste with diversion rates that exceeded the Department of Environmental Protection’s 50% permit requirement. environment. It is important to remember that the failure of the previous owner is due to poor management, lack of fundingand permit approval delayednot the plant itself.
Ownership of the plant provides a unique opportunity for communities in the MRC to take control and be responsible for their own municipal solid waste. It reinforces the RCN’s overarching goal of providing reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible solid waste management for RCN members.
There’s more at stake here than the Hampden factory. Other state processing facilities are aging and have limited capacity. Adding the capacity and modern technology of the Hampden plant to the state’s solid waste infrastructure is critical to meeting the needs of this region. It could also increase statewide recycling and diversion rates and foster greater collaboration in efforts to diversify Maine’s approach to municipal solid waste management.
The MRC needs $20 million to successfully restart the plant and cover operating costs until the facility becomes profitable. To avoid overburdening MRC members with this level of financial support, the MRC solicited proposals from potential private sector partners and signed an exclusivity agreement with Revere Capital Advisors, LLC, an investment firm that proposes to reopen and operate the plant as it was originally designed.
The MRC is working on the details of the partnership agreement with Revere and confirms Revere’s access to sufficient capital. The MRC intends to complete the partnership transaction within the next six weeks, if all conditions are met.
In addition to capital, Revere’s offering includes expertise in plant engineering and waste and pulp operations in the form of proposed plant operator CS Solutions. The MRC is aware CS Solutions links to a company that has previously been involved in Maine, in the Katahdin area. However, the structure planned for the installation of Hampden is completely different. MRC’s partnership will be with Revere Capital Advisors, LLC and not with any other entity. The role of CS Solutions would be limited to that of a supplier; it would have no role in the ownership, financing or governance of the facility. Additionally, Revere’s proposal does not rely on any state or federal financial support.
We plan to start processing small volumes of waste within six months of securing funding. Within 18 months, we plan to accept all member waste for processing at the Material Recovery Facility and have the entire facility including the wet end – or pulping – operational.
With over 30 years of active involvement in municipal solid waste management, MRC’s knowledge and experience in the industry is both broad and deep. As owner of the Hampden facility, the MRC is committed to seeing its new approach to municipal solid waste recycling and treatment come to fruition. This is a long-term solution for this region that will minimize waste sent to landfill by maximizing reuse, recycling and creation of value-added products from municipal solid waste.
Fussell is the chairman of the municipal review board. Smith is the vice president of the MRC. This column was written on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Municipal Review Committee.