By Beth David, Editor
The Fairhaven Recycling Center has undergone a few changes in the last week or so. First, it moved, but don’t worry, you’ll find it easily enough. It only moved to the north side of the Board of Public Works property on 5 Arsene Street.
The RC used to be on the south side of the property, behind the Wastewater Treatment Plant. But the plant upgrades require a larger footprint, so the Recycling Center had to move. The upgrade will include the addition of a two-story building for nitrogen removal.
Public Works Superintendent Vinnie Furtado said the project manager for the WWTP upgrades is Jeff Osuch, the town’s former Executive Secretary and BPW superintendent.
Mr. Furtado said he told Mr. Osuch: “I can’t think of anyone else who’s going to make it as cheap as it can be, other than you.”
In an interview with the Neighb News Mr. Furtado said, “He’s capital D due diligence. He’s brilliant.”
Mr. Furtado also broke the news that the state approved $16.6 million in loan forgiveness for the $70 million project. That along with payments from Mattapoisett for its share of the plant, will bring the total loan cost to about $45-50 million for Fairhaven taxpayers.
The state is mandating that the treatment plant reduce the nitrogen it releases into the harbor.
The Recycle Center had to go.
Highway Superintendent Joshua Crabb said the new footprint is significantly smaller than the old RC, so some other changes also had to be made. The center will no longer accept any recyclables that residents can simply put in the orange covered bins that are picked up curbside. The department is trying to create an option for those without curbside recycling, such as apartment/condo dwellers. As of now, however, they cannot take these items to the center. Mr. Crabb said he hopes they will have an option soon.* Residents who find that their bin is not large enough can call Harvey Waste & Recycling to buy another one at 508-995-0544.
The center still accepts yard waste; small branches and brush; electronics; metal; rigid plastic, such as lawn chairs; white goods, such as old washing machines and dryers; and certain kinds of hazardous waste, such as batteries. Some items require a fee to be disposed of.
Mr. Crabb said the biggest challenge is how to manage the yard waste as spring arrives and more people are dropping off. Because they do not have the same amount of space, they will have to truck it out.
The department is hoping that Town Meeting will approve a tub grinder, which will allow them to grind up the yard waste on a regular basis. That will keep the volume down, but it will also make mulch available sooner. The mulch could then be offered to residents or sold. The tub grinder could also be used in other municipalities, for a fee.
“It would be a revenue stream,” said Mr. Furtado.
The BPW also changed the fee structure for commercial users. Instead of $550/year for a permit, the new fee is $300/year plus $10 per load. Mr. Furtado said it would not change the amount of product coming into the RC, but he is hoping it will be more manageable because landscapers will be more likely to go less often with bigger loads.
Both said they hoped the location is only temporary. They are hoping to give the RC a permanent home at the old landfill property on Bridge Street. The property has a few issues, including wetlands and contamination, which made it unsuitable for a safety complex. Mr. Furtado said a Recycling Center is not the same kind of use, so they hired a firm to study what needs to be done to move the center there. He is confident, he said, that it can happen.
They both said they did not want to close the center while waiting for that possibility.
“We couldn’t just rip the Bandaid off and take it all away,” said Mr. Crabb, adding that hopefully, the reduced footprint, with its reduced capacity, will only be for a couple of years.
All users of the center must have a sticker/permit for their vehicles, $35 for residents under 62, and $20 for senior citizens (62+).
Visit the BPW page on the town’s website at https://www.fairhaven-ma.gov/public-works-department for more information, or call 508-979-4030.
Winter hours for the center are every Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 11:55 a.m.; and every second and fourth Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
*Corrects error from previous version: There is no single stream recycling available at the recycling center.
Click here to download the 2/8/24 issue: 02-08-24 RecycleCtr
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