The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority's proposal to continue dumping on the eastern slope of its landfill in the North Meadows section of Hartford appears to offer the agency and its 70 member towns some significant economic savings without a negative impact.
Currently, about 175,000 tons of ash from CRRA's waste-to-energy plant in the South Meadows section of Hartford gets dumped in the northern end of the landfill every year. That section is due to close by the end of 2008.
But another 125,000 tons of municipal waste - items too bulky for burning as well as some smaller, unburnable material - gets dumped annually in another section of the landfill to the south. Space for that waste could be filled up as soon as March, according to authority officials.
Officials are looking to delay that scenario and have asked the state Department of Environmental Protection for permission to dump on a section of the upper slope of the landfill that faces the Connecticut River.
The additional room could accommodate another 250,000 tons of municipal waste, officials say. It would also buy the CRRA and its member towns as much as two years and, in the meantime, save the expense of hauling the stuff to New York, Pennsylvania or Ohio - estimated at $750,000 per month, according to officials.
The additional dumping will not change the landfill's existing "footprint" or its overall height. This proposal's impact is further minimized by the fact that trucks will be tracking back and forth carting ash to the landfill for the next two years anyway.
Neighbors of the landfill are understandably frustrated at having to live and work in the shadow of this regional eyesore. But the landfill isn't going away. And the temporary benefits of CRRA's proposal outweigh its drawbacks.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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