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Westport Will Save $1 Million With New Solid Waste Disposal Contract

Wheelabrator Bridgeport operates a waste-to-energy plant that provides dependable, environmentally safe disposal of municipal solid waste while generating clean renewable electricity.
Wheelabrator Bridgeport operates a waste-to-energy plant that provides dependable, environmentally safe disposal of municipal solid waste while generating clean renewable electricity. Photo Credit: Wheelabrator Bridgeport website

WESTPORT, Conn. -- The Town of Westport has successfully completed a novel negotiation with Wheelabrator Bridgeport when it comes to disposing of the town's solid waste, First Selectman Jim Marpe announced Wednesday.

The contract with Wheelabrator Bridgeport will save the town of Westport over $110,000 annually and more than $1.1 million during its 10-year term, Marpe said.

On July 1, the town of Westport joined with Bethany, Bridgeport, Easton, Fairfield, Milford, Trumbull and Woodbridge in entering into a new 10-year solid waste agreement with Wheelabrator Bridgeport for the disposal of solid waste generated by the respective municipalities.

The eight municipalities constitute the Greater Bridgeport Solid Waste Interlocal Committee. SWIC is a successor organization to the Southwest Advisory Board, which previously contracted with the Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority (CRRA), which in turn and on behalf of the member municipalities, contracted with Wheelabrator for solid waste disposal.

"In addition to Westport, seven other Fairfield County towns will now share in the cost saving benefits of the new contract," Marpe said. "One of the primary differences in this new contract strategy is that Westport negotiated and contracted directly with Wheelabrator Bridgeport LP rather than going through CRRA. Previously, CRRA negotiated and contracted on behalf of municipalities and charged a substantial per ton administrative fee for their services.

"By negotiating directly with Wheelebrator, we were able to avoid unnecessary administrative costs and negotiate a better price. When the renewal for a 10-year contract came due, the towns, led by Westport and Fairfield, sought to restructure the negotiating and contracting process," Marpe said.

"This produced a more cost efficient contract, which will benefit all our neighbors in the Solid Waste Interlocal Committee. I am very pleased with the result of this negotiation. It is an excellent example how a 'fresh look' approach to business in town results in positive, cost effective returns.”

The new contract provides for a significant reduction in disposal fees. Last year, the Town of Westport paid $65.12 per ton to Wheelabrator for disposal and $2.19 per ton to CRRA for administration of the contract.

This year the total disposal fee will be $59.75 per ton for a savings of $7.56 per ton with no administrative payment to CRRA. Based on an estimated 15,000 tons of municipal solid waste per year, the annual savings for Westport will exceed $110,000.

Wheelabrator Bridgeport operates a 740,000-ton waste-to-energy plant in Bridgeport. The waste-to-energy plant provides dependable, environmentally safe disposal of municipal solid waste while generating clean renewable electricity. The Bridgeport plant produces 67,000 kilowatts of power annually, the equivalent electric needs of 83,000 Connecticut homes.

The modern waste-to-energy facility combusts post-recycled waste in a highly controlled and efficient combustion system and recovers energy from the combustion process, which is equipped with proven air emission control technologies.

After trash is completely combusted the volume is reduced by more than 90 percent. The final resting place for the resulting ash is in a state-of-the-art landfill located in Putnam.

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