MRC looking to get going on road and sewer line for Fiberight plant

ELLSWORTH — The organization representing the solid waste interests of 187 towns and cities in Maine may get a head start on a road and sewer line for its new refuse plant in Hampden.

Greg Lounder, executive director of the Municipal Review Committee (MRC), said there will be a special meeting of the MRC Board, likely the third week of September, on the issue.

Lounder said the cost of putting in 4,600 feet of roadway and installing a sewer line beneath the road is estimated at $1 million to $1.2 million.

A total of 106 MRC members have opted to sign on to the new plant, which is to be built by Fiberight, LLC, with a scheduled opening of April 1, 2018.

Some towns and municipalities have chosen to go with solid waste options closer to them geographically, while others have decided to remain with the current disposal site, the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. (PERC) facility in Orrington.

PERC has filed suit challenging permits issued for the new plant in Hampden. That litigation is pending.

“We’re on track to get started on construction of the road and the infrastructure,” Lounder said Sept. 6. “We’re hoping to break ground around the first week of October.”

He said the board will need to approve several authorizations at its meeting later this month.

“It’s a balance between minimizing capital outlay before Fiberight’s financial close,” Lounder said. “It’s a balance between that and the need to get roadwork started to keep our work schedule on track.”

Under the agreement with Fiberight, the MRC will purchase the land and pay for the road and installation of utilities.

Fiberight will be responsible for construction and operation of the plant.

PERC’s plant in Orrington burns trash to generate electricity. The Fiberight plant will burn trash to generate biogas.

Lounder said the MRC is negotiating with Fiberight and its partners to have them cover the upcoming costs for the road and utilities. The MRC then would reimburse Fiberight when an official real estate closing is held for the plant.

The MRC maintains a multi-million account funded by many of the member towns. The money represents those towns’ profits from the operation of the PERC plant.

Lounder said the investors in the Fiberight project include Covanta Energy as well as other investors whose names have not yet been disclosed.

“It’s Covanta and a handful of other potential investors,” he said. “You just don’t know who all the investors are until you reach financial close.”

Jacqueline Weaver

Jacqueline Weaver

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Jacqueline's beat covers the eastern Hancock County towns of Lamoine through Gouldsboro as well as Steuben in Washington County. She was a reporter for the New York Times, United Press International and Reuters before moving to Maine. She also publicized medical research at Yale School of Medicine and scientific findings at Yale University for nine years.[email protected]
Jacqueline Weaver

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