Select Board Renews Contract for Disposal of Solid Waste

October 27, 2023
The Bedford Select Board renewed a contract with Covanta Haverhill associates for solid-waste disposal. Image:

The Bedford Select Board on Monday approved a five-year contract for solid-waste disposal with Covanta Haverhill Associates, renewing an arrangement that began in 2010.

The action was part of a collective agreement with six other towns: Burlington, Chelmsford, Dracut, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, and Westford.

Charges are assessed by the weight of the deliveries to Covanta’s resource recovery facility off Route 495 in Haverhill. The current disposal rate is $97.34 per ton. The proposed rate for the first year of the contract will be $99.77 per ton.

According to the Department of Public Works, Bedford generates about 4,000 tons of solid waste each year. The current year’s estimated cost for disposal is $389,360. Under terms of the agreement, the estimated disposal cost for fiscal year 2025 is $399,080. Actual costs are based on the weight.

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The agreement is separate from the town’s contract with Republic Services for curbside collection of solid waste.

DPW Director David Manugian told the Select Board, “Bedford had also received other disposal prices as part of a comprehensive hauling/disposal bid last year.” The Covanta proposal “is favorable, given current market conditions and limited end sites for the disposal of municipal solid waste in Massachusetts,” he wrote. 

Annual rate increases will be tied to changes to the regional consumer price index.

The regional agreement helped with the pricing, said Manugian, who noted that Liz Antanavica, the DPW’s refuse and recycling administrator, was the lead staff person on the contract.

Asked by board member Emily Mitchell about prospects for reducing the 4,000 tons sent to Haverhill, Manugian cited the various DPW efforts to help residents remove items from the waste stream.

Covanta is an international company, announcing on its website that “we have become the world’s largest waste-to-energy provider,” processing almost 10 percent of the waste generated in North America.

The Haverhill facility converts more than 600,000 tons of waste a year to energy. According to the Covanta website, the operation takes non-hazardous waste “and combusts it to generate steam for electricity. Ash is processed to recover metal for recycling, while all gases are collected, filtered, and cleaned before being released safely into the atmosphere.”

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