FAIRFIELD — The Town Council is considering raising the fee private trash haulers pay to bring town waste to a Waterville transfer station in an effort to limit the amount of trash being deposited that might not come from residents in town.

The town’s complicated solid waste system involves a network of private companies that pay the town to use its account at the Pine Tree Waste station on Lafleur Road in Waterville, then receive a rebate from the town as an incentive for keeping their accounts current.

The waste is transferred from Waterville to the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. factory in Orrington. A contract with the waste-to-energy plant obliges Fairfield to take its waste there.

But Town Manager Josh Reny suspects that waste that didn’t come from Fairfield residents is creeping into the trash that is taken to the transfer station.

According to its contract, Fairfield is obligated to bring 3,500 tons to PERC per year, but in the last 12 months, the town has sent 4,200 tons to the plant, according to a Sept. 9 memo Reny sent to the council.

“It is estimated the town of Fairfield generates substantially less waste than is actually being declared Fairfield waste,” Reny said in the memo. At a Town Council meeting Wednesday, Reny said he had no proof haulers were dumping non-Fairfield waste at Pine Tree Waste, but town officials suspect that is what accounts for the additional tonnage.

In his memo, Reny suggested amending the council’s solid waste policy to increase fees “and consider other methods to prevent non-Fairfield waste from being delivered under the Fairfield account” to the Waterville transfer station.

If the proposed changes are approved, the per-ton rate would increase Jan. 1, from $67.50 to $70 per ton for the first 150 tons in the month and then $80 per excess ton.

Fairfield imposed increased fees on the private haulers last year. That fee increase reduced the tonnage going to the transfer station, but it has started to trend up again, Reny said in his memo.

“Although annual tonnage has decreased from highs seen three years ago, it is still above the historic average and well above the tonnage Fairfield is committed to sent to PERC,” Reny said.

At a Town Council meeting Wednesday, Reny said that compared to many other communities, in Fairfield’s struggle to meet its annual waste commitment to PERC, it sends far more than it is required to send.

That means the town is being charged more in handling and transportation fees at Pine Tree Waste and paying more in tipping fees at PERC.

“It is to Fairfield’s financial benefit to decrease our tonnage,” Reny told councilors Wednesday.

Private haulers have been contacted about the possible fee increase and the town is waiting to see if it gets a response before acting on the proposal. The council expects to take the issue up again at its Oct. 14 meeting.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: PeteL_McGuire

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