West Hartford – West Hartford has entered the preliminary stages of developing a new recycling center and closing a historic landfill as a proactive step to address central Connecticut’s changing waste landscape , officials said.
Construction of the 16,900 square foot Hardware Solutions Center will include updates to the 10.9-acre property at 25 Brixton St. in West Hartford, which houses the current yard waste and recycling center and a landfill that ceased operations in the 1970s.
West Hartford Public Works Director John Phillips said the city decided to update its waste and recycling facilities to prepare for changes in Connecticut’s waste management markets brought about by the planned shutdown. of the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority’s waste-to-energy plant in Hartford.
The MIRA plant serves 48 municipalities. In 2020, after Governor Ned Lamont rejected a $330 million proposal to renovate the plant, MIRA board members voted to close operations at the facility by June 30, 2022. , although a delay is expected. Now, Connecticut municipalities are looking for other options, such as out-of-state waste hauling, to dispose of their waste.
State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes said spending $300 million on an outdated plant wouldn’t have solved the state’s waste crisis.
“The closure of MIRA absolutely changes Connecticut’s central waste landscape,” Phillips said. “As Director of Public Works, I try to be proactive and not reactive…with how West Hartford handles its waste going forward.”
Once complete, Phillips said the facility will sort and transfer glass, plastics, food scraps and bulk trash dropped off by residents.
“The goal is simply to do better to support the citizens of West Hartford…to reduce our waste and divert more of our materials that we create to waste in a more economical and environmentally friendly way,” Phillips said. . “We hope to have a solution for whatever residents need to throw away.”
Phillips said the city is waiting for permits from the Wetlands and Inland Waterways Agency and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. He said he hopes to start construction between January and March 2023.
Loureiro Engineering Associates, Inc. of Plainville, Connecticut will oversee the development of the project.
Construction of the new facility will occur in stages, so residents can continue to bring their trash and recycling to the center without disruption, Phillips said.
Closure of the landfill on site will include the placement of a cap over the existing area and a two-foot layer of soil material to promote vegetation growth.
Philips said that although there are no current environmental risks, sealing the landfill will prevent future pollution by ensuring that water drains off the site instead of into the waste.
“Permanently closing the landfill will eliminate the city’s environmental liability associated with the site and…provide improved means of waste management,” Loureiro Engineering Associates wrote in a May 18 letter to the West Hartford Inland Wetlands and Watercourse. Agency.
A public hearing on the project by the city’s wetlands agency is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, July 6 in Room 314 of West Hartford City Hall, 50 South Main St.
Alison Cross can be reached at [email protected]