Ensuring affordable, long term, and environmentally sound disposal of MSW

Knowledge Base

Acronyms and Brief Definitions
  1. MRC: Municipal Review Committee, Inc. is a non-profit corporation dedicated to ensuring the long-term affordable, environmentally sound disposal of municipal solid waste for its members.

 

  1. MSW: Municipal Solid Waste.

 

  1. Fiberight: Fiberight, LLC is the parent company that developed and owns the technology for processing mixed MSW to be installed in the facility in Hampden, Maine.

 

  1. Coastal Resources: Coastal Resources of Maine, LLC, the project company formed by Fiberight to finance, own and operate the Hampden project.

 

  1. Crossroads: Crossroads Landfill located in Norridgewock, Maine.

 

  1. WM: Waste Management, Inc., the owners of Crossroads, is a waste management company headquartered in Houston, Texas.

 

  1. JRL: Juniper Ridge Landfill, owned by the State of Maine and operated by Casella.

 

  1. Casella: Casella Waste Systems, a waste management company based in Rutland, Vermont.

 

  1. Bridge Waste: MSW being sent to an alternative site on an interim, short-term basis as a result of the Coastal facility not opening on time is referred to as bridge waste.

 

  1. Bypass Waste: MSW being sent to an alternative site on an interim, short-term basis after the facility has been in operation is referred to as bypass waste.

 

  1. PERC: Penobscot Energy Recovery Company in Orrington, Maine.
Who is the MRC?

The MRC, which stands for Municipal Review Committee, Inc., is a non-profit corporation dedicated to ensuring the affordable, environmentally sound disposal of municipal solid waste (MSW) in the long-term for its members.  The MRC membership is currently comprised of the 115 communities that have contracted to send their MSW to the Coastal Resources next generation waste processing facility in Hampden, Maine.

Our nine member volunteer board is elected by the membership and is made up of municipal officials and experienced individuals with extensive knowledge of the MSW industry.  Our decisions are made in public meetings.  We have been proactive about ensuring that our members will have an affordable and long-term solution to MSW disposal.  We recognize that when we work together we all are in a better position to address the waste handling needs of the region.

Click these links to learn more about the MRC and its long and successful history.

How can I receive updates from the MRC?

Sign-up for e-mail updates from the MRC here. We will not share your e-mail address.  Attend MRC board meetings, which are always open to the public.  Like the MRC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

What material does Coastal Resources accept?

Coastal Resources handles municipal solid waste (MSW) from member communities. some commercial haulers, and, potentially, other cities and towns in Maine if capacity is available.  The facility will accept solid waste that meets the definition of Acceptable Waste found in Exhibit A of the Master Waste Supply Aggreement.  This definition is identical to that included in communities’ previous contracts with PERC. Coastal Resources will not accept any out‐of‐state waste for processing. Coastal will not receive any construction and demolition debris (CDD) or out‐of‐state waste for processing. Please stay tuned for tips and tricks on best practices for disposing materials at Coastal Resources.

What material does Coastal Resources NOT accept?

Joining Members are precluded by contract from delivering Unacceptable Waste to the Coastal Resources facility. Joining Members that make such deliveries despite the contractual prohibition will be required to pay the cost of removing and of providing an appropriate manner for disposal of such materials.  This type of contractual provision is standard in the waste industry and is substantially the same as that included in the expired PERC contracts.

Is out-of-state trash being used at the Coastal Resources facility to fulfill volume?

No.  Out-of-state waste is not allowed per contract language in the Master Waste Supply Agreement and the Site Lease.  In addition, the facility’s DEP permit does not allow for out-of-state deliveries – the MRC and Fiberight did not ask for it to be permitted.

My community wants to change our recycling program and implement new diversion programs. Who should I contact?

Contact the MRC here. Fill out the simple form and the Executive Director will respond with an answer to your question.

 

If our local recycling practices become more effective than anticipated, will we be penalized because our tonnage is lower than what we estimated for the MRC during the planning stages of the project?

No, it would not be penalized.  One of the benefits of the process is that it lends itself to recycling and local control.  The contract terms that the MRC negotiated specifically allow towns to continue or expand their existing waste reduction and recycling programs.  The facility is designed with the understanding that many member communities will choose this route.  Towns that would like to continue or expand their existing recycling programs will be able to do so.  MRC agreements for the facility do not impose requirements to deliver a Guaranteed Annual Tonnage (GAT) of MSW on individual towns, and towns are NOT be liable for penalties for failure to deliver any specific amount of MSW so long as they continue to deliver all MSW under their control to the Coastal Resources facility.  Communities can continue existing PAYT programs, add new PAYT programs, or add new diversion programs without fear of being penalized individually for delivery shortfalls.

What is my town’s current tipping fee?

As specified in Section 5.1 of the Master Waste Supply Agreement (MWSA), the tip fee for Joining Members that were Charter Municipalities for 2020 is $72.28 per ton. The tip fee for Joining Members that were not Charter Municipalities for 2020 is $74.49.  Each January 1 following the Commercial Operation Date, the tip fee will be adjusted by the consumer price index (CPI).

The tip fee is the gross amount paid for deliveries of Acceptable Waste in accordance with the MWSA without accounting for Rebates (as referenced in Section 5.3 and Exhibit F of the MWSA) or disbursements from Reserve Funds, including the distribution of $5 per ton or $3 per ton for the first three years as laid out in Section 2(c) of Exhibit B of the Joinder Agreements.

How many years is the tipping fee for?

There is a possible 40-year horizon on the contracted tip fee.  The base fee of $71.44/ton is for an initial contract term of 15 years. Joining Members have the option of terminating the contract at the end of the 15-year period or contracting for up to five additional 5-year extensions.

Who owns the Coastal Resources of Maine recycling facility and assets?

The facility and its contents are still owned by Coastal Resources of Maine, the company formed by Fiberight to finance, own and operate the facility. The facility is pledged as collateral for repayment of Coastal Resources of Maine’s loans to a group of bondholders represented by a trustee. As part of the sale process, the MRC anticipates that the bondholders will foreclose on the pledged assets, thereby becoming the owner.

The land in Hampden on which the facility sits is owned by the Municipal Review Committee (MRC), who acts as the landlord. (The MRC also holds all the municipal waste contracts crucial to operations, and we are the permittee for all the DEP waste processing permits.)

Who is selling the Coastal Resources of Maine facility?

The bondholders will be selling the facility after they have foreclosed and taken possession. As the future owners, all final decisions regarding the choice of buyer rest with the bondholders.

What is MRC’s role in the sale?

Since the plant closed in May 2020, the MRC’s role has been three-fold:

  • To ensure the safe and continuous disposal of our members’ MSW while minimizing new costs.
  • to maintain the physical plant and equipment to allow for a swift re-start under a new owner, and
  • to negotiate terms that allow for MRC oversight that will protect our members.

As landlord, DEP permittee, and holder of the contracts, the MRC has used that leverage to negotiate diligently for provisions that are most beneficial to our members. We are working to ensure that the new owner will be capable of processing MSW to our standards, will be financially capable of operating the plant, and will be willing to operate the facility as is, at least initially, to avoid delays associated with any possible future installation of new technology and necessary permitting.

Who is buying the Coastal Resources of Maine facility?

The bondholders and their trustee have chosen Delta Thermo Energy, a Pennsylvania- based company focused on clean MSW processing, which has developed waste facilities in Europe and Asia.

The MRC, the bondholders, and their trustee have verified that the DTE team has experience with MSW. In addition, the MRC has negotiated a say in the operating plan and will have a seat at the table for monthly stakeholders’ meetings.

Who is DTE-HM, LLC?

DTE has created a separate company to operate the Hampden facility, a limited liability company (LLC) called DTE-HM. HM stands for Hampden, Maine.

What about financing?

The documents are in final form and have been sent to the financers. Rob Van Naarden, the CEO of DTE, is confident they will satisfy the needs of the financers.

Why is the sale of the facility to DTE-HM good for the MRC?

The sale will benefit members and represents the best opportunity to resume waste processing at the facility.  On April 21, 2021, the MRC Board voted unanimously to approve the transaction to move the sale process forward.

An overview of the sale transaction and its key provisions is available on MRC’s homepage at www.mrcmaine.org.  Among other considerations, the MRC will receive in excess of $3.8 million at closing to cover repayment of the $1.5 million we loaned to Coastal Resources of Maine and to reimburse costs MRC incurred during this interim period. The schedule anticipates the sale being final in June 2021, and for DTE-HM to begin processing at least some level of waste before year end.

Will the Hampden plant continue to use Fiberight’s technology?

Yes. DTE has provided assurances that it will continue to use Fiberight’s technology upon reopening and is obtaining its financing based on the assets, technology, and contracts already in place, with a determination to make the plant fully operational. After it becomes the new owner, DTE-HM would have the right to make changes to the facility consistent with applicable law and requirements, including DEP permit conditions and regulatory requirements for diversion. The plant must reopen using the Fiberight technology.

Will municipalities still be able to use the “one bin, all in” model to collect MSW?

Yes.

Will we really be recycling MSW?

Yes. The plant will continue to recover everyday recyclable materials from the waste stream and convert what’s left into saleable energy and other products.

In his first town hall meeting, Van Naarden mentioned barges with sludge from New York City looking for places to bring sludge. He said, “We eliminate that need.” Does that mean he wants to bring NYC sludge to Maine?

No. He was using that as an example of how difficult and how universal the problem of sludge disposal has become. DTE’s technology, which has been used in other countries may find an application here in Maine, provided it meets Maine environmental laws and standards, but as he stated during the April 28th meeting, the Hampden plant will operate using Fiberight technology, the only technology for which the plant is permitted.

Does this mean he’ll be burning sewer sludge?

No. As Mr. Van Naarden has said often, they do not incinerate anything. Also, as has been stated many times, the Hampden plant will reopen using Fiberight technology, the only technology for which the plant is permitted.

Keep in mind that the safe disposal of sewer sludge is a tremendous problem for the state of Maine. As board president, Karen Fussell reiterated during the April 28 quarterly meeting, how municipalities look for ways to deal with safe sludge removal is dependent upon the State and DEP and the directions they may take.

Mr. Van Naarden said during his first presentation, and then again on April 28th, that he had plans to add “new services and new technology.” What is he talking about?

Some of the other plants operated by DTE use a technology known as hydrothermal decomposition. In his presentation he mentioned the possibility of adding that technology for the purpose of disposing of sewer sludge for our members, which is a growing problem across Maine. Understand that adding any new technology would require additional permitting from the Maine DEP.

There’s been talk that DTE will bring in its own technology in the future, is that true?

The plant must reopen under the terms of the current permits and meet the terms of the Master Waste Supply Agreement, which details recycling rate requirements.

In its first town hall presentation to the MRC, DTE stated its plans to “improve and maximize diversion” and to “add new services and technology.”

This was stated clearly. Any new technology, however, will have to be permitted by the Maine DEP, which we know from experience can be a long and thorough vetting process.

Will tipping fees increase?

No.

This has been a priority for the MRC. Without the MRC coalition or the restarting of this plant, municipalities centered around Bangor would be left with few options. That would allow tip fees to increase, we estimate by as much as $15 to $25 dollars more per ton. This would be a blow to MRC member budgets. It is the strength of our numbers that buttressed the appeal of the CRM plant to potential buyers.

Any additional cost that MRC may encounter due to bypass will be reimbursed at closing. After closing, those costs will be incurred by new ownership.