FAIRFIELD — Town officials are moving ahead with a plan to send residents’ trash to a Norridgewock landfill after the town’s contract with a waste-to-energy incinerator in Orrington expires in 2018.

Town Manager Michelle Flewelling said Monday that the Town Council gave her the go-ahead last week to start discussions with Waste Management to allow Fairfield residents to take household waste to Crossroads Landfill in Norridgewock. Waste Management is based in Houston, Texas.

Flewelling will also discuss future options with Pine Tree Waste, a Waterville transfer station, where Fairfield residents can currently bring their trash.

Fairfield is one of more than 180 Maine communities, including many in the Waterville area, that send their municipal solid waste to the Penobscot Energy Recovery Company in Orrington under a 30-year contract with the company. In early 2018, that contract will expire, as will PERC’s agreement with Emera Maine, which buys electricity from the company at above-market rates.

The Municipal Review Committee, the group that represents communities that send their waste to PERC, says fees to bring trash to the incinerator will be too expensive after 2018. It is pushing a plan to partner with Maryland firm Fiberight to build a next-generation facility in Hampden that will convert trash to natural gas.

Although some communities such as Brewer, Hampden and Bar Harbor have signed onto the proposal, Fairfield is going to look at other options and doesn’t intend to pursue the MRC plan, according to Flewelling.

“We are definitely looking at local options for solid waste,” she said.

In earlier discussions, Waste Management suggested it would be feasible to take household waste from Fairfield, Flewelling said.

Under Fairfield’s existing system, the town offers subsidies to local private waste companies to collect Fairfield waste and take it to Pine Tree Waste in Waterville, where it is collected and sent to PERC. Working with private collectors allows the town to fulfill a set tonnage of waste it is obligated to send to the incinerator every year.

Residents who don’t want to hire a private hauler have to purchase trash stickers from the town office to use the Waterville transfer station. Stickers cost $1.50 per 30-gallon bag.

The envisioned post-2018 system for Fairfield would work the same, but the town would no longer offer subsidies to local haulers because it would not have to fulfill its required annual tonnage to PERC, Flewelling said. Those haulers would have to come up with their own arrangements for where to bring the waste they collect, she said.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire

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