This summer, the trucks that hauled trash from 30 outlying towns into Hartford and Watertown will stop coming as MIRA shuts down operations at its transfer station in Watertown and its trash-burning energy plant in Hartford’s South Meadows.
Twenty-eight towns — making up about 80 percent of the trash burned at the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority plant — have decided to switch to private haulers starting in July, including almost all of the towns that had their trash delivered to the Watertown transfer station or directly to the plant.
The full MIRA board will need to approve the plan next week, but MIRA President Tom Kirk said the agency plans to shut down its Watertown transfer station, where only Middlebury has opted to remain with MIRA.
The quasi-public also plans to shutter the trash-burning plant in Hartford down sometime in mid-July, according to Kirk, and have the trash from Middlebury and the five remaining Hartford towns delivered to one of its two remaining transfer stations in Torrington and Essex.
“We will still have a substantial amount of garbage being delivered [to South Meadows] right up until June 30, and there will be a significant amount of waste at the facility that has to be processed, so we’ll certainly be operating beyond July 1,” Kirk said. “We’ll see how long it takes to essentially clean up the remaining waste.”
Kirk said the list of towns that have opted out of remaining with MIRA is still unofficial and paperwork hasn’t been finalized, but said MIRA was confident moving forward with its planning. The authority asked towns to sign a five-year contract to remain with the authority as it transitions into its new role without the power plant, or to opt out and find another hauler.
“We haven’t run into any issues that cause us to re-evaluate our direction or our schedule, so we’re on track and expect the towns’ transition to be uneventful and without issue,” Kirk said.