Marion Town Administrator makes a case for leaving Waste District

Oct 1, 2019

MARION — Town Administrator wants Marion to seriously consider leaving the Carver Marion Wareham Regional Refuse Disposal District, so much so that he has already sent out for proposals for other options, even ahead of a formal town vote. 

At an Oct. 1 Board of Selectmen meeting, McGrail laid out a case for why and how Marion should leave the Carver Marion Wareham Regional Refuse Disposal District, although the board did not take any action on the recommendation. 

McGrail explained that there is a warrant article for the Special Town Meeting to vote on leaving the Waste District. This would be the first of two votes needed to withdraw from from waste district. “It’s going to take time,” McGrail said. 

The administrator explained that the Waste District currently does two things: it allows the three towns to negotiate with Covanta SEMASS with additional purchasing power and it runs two transfer stations. 

The District is currently considering whether to keep the Benson Brook Transfer station in Marion open.

McGrail also discovered recently that Covanta SEMASS is willing to make the same agreement with the town that it does with the waste district. “I thought the free trash deal came through the district, but it was the same exact deal they offered us as a town,” said McGrail. Covanta has agreed to no-cost trash disposal through Dec. 31, 2020, even if Marion leaves the Waste District before that time. 

But, starting Jan. 1 2021, trash disposal will no longer be free and Marion must find a place to take its trash. 

McGrail explained that Carver and Wareham are in a much different situation because they do not have town-operated waste pickup.  

The Town Administrator sent out for proposals from different waste disposal facilities and has received proposals from Covanta SEMASS and the Bourne landfill. He described the Bourne arrangement as more complicated because they are going through a permitting process. 

Covanta offered a rate of $77.50 per ton for the first year of a five-year contract with a 2.5% increase each year. and Bourne offered $85 per ton. 

“Given industry, I think it would be in the best interest to sign an agreement,” McGrail said. That way the town has a place to send trash in January 2021 at today’s prices, he explained.  

“I can guarantee that trash costs are not going down,” he said.  

Selectman Randy Parker asked what would happen with recycling costs, since McGrail specified that those were not included in the proposals he got. 

McGrail explained that Waste Management covers recycling at a cost of $90 per ton. 

If Marion wanted to leave the waste district it would have to vote once at Town Meeting to have the district draw up an amendment to its charter and then vote at a subsequent Town Meeting to accept that amendment. Marion would also still be responsible for its share of debt even after it has left the district. 

McGrail said that the matter would reappear as a future agenda item.