Hartford and the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority are all hugs and kisses because the regional trash agency appears to be on track toward closing its revolting landfill in city's North Meadows by December 2008.
Whatever CRRA intends to do with the daily tons of garbage it collects once the landfill shuts down, however, remains a well-guarded secret.
The agreement to close the dump was announced in February. CRRA officials said at the time that they were in negotiations to purchase a replacement site at an undisclosed location in Connecticut and that they expected the land purchase to be finalized.
It wasn't. Although CRRA officials express confidence that the transaction will take place eventually, the delay is cause for concern.
Without an alternative site, CRRA faces the prospect of hauling its waste to landfills in other parts of the country at a cost to the agency and its 70 member towns of hundreds of thousands of dollars a month.
The towns, including Hartford, are currently battling CRRA in state Supreme Court to recover a $35.9 million refund from increased tipping fees that were imposed after CRRA blew $220 million in a shady loan to Enron. The higher fees continued even after CRRA retrieved most of its lost money from Enron's bankruptcy estate.
It would be truly regrettable if the failure to secure a replacement waste-delivery site were to become another bone of contention.
CRRA has so far approved two contracts to install a permanent impermeable cap over half of the 96-acre landfill. The first contract, for $2.3 million, covers 7.2 acres of the landfill's ash residue area, and the second, for $12.7 million, covers about 45 acres of the main dumping site, areas that have reached their capacity.
That should come as good news to residents and visitors to the city who've been waiting decades for the sickly odor of decomposing garbage that wafts in from the trash mountain - Hartford's biggest eyesore - to end.
We trust that CRRA will soon announce the purchase of the replacement site.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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