AUGUSTA — It will soon cost 15% more to bring most types of trash to the Hatch Hill Landfill in Augusta.

With the landfill that is owned by the city of Augusta and used by residents and trash haulers from eight surrounding other municipalities projected to be full in about four years, officials are looking to put away funds to help pay for the potential vertical expansion of the landfill to extend its lifespan.

The expansion could cost about $20 million and extend the length of time trash could be brought there by 12 to 15 years, depending on usage.

A study of the soils at the landfill is underway to see if it could support an expansion that would add trash on top of an existing portion of the landfill. The project would also need to be approved by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Lesley Jones, Augusta’s director of Public Works, said the study and approval part of the expansion process are expected to cost more than $1 million, and she and other staff members recommended increasing tipping fees to help offset some of the costs.

To build up at least some funds to pay for the potential expansion, city councilors last week approved City Manager Susan Robertson’s recommendation to increase tipping fees by 15% at the landfill, which are charged to residents and private haulers bringing most types of trash to Hatch Hill.


City councilors approved it unanimously and without debate Thursday.

The increased rate is expected to go into effect March 28.

“We’re trying to generate as much as we can from rates so we don’t have to borrow as much” to pay for the potential expansion at the landfill, Robertson told city councilors. “We’ll still need additional funding. We’ll just need less additional funding.”

The rest of the money to be borrowed to pay for the potential expansion would be repaid in future years from user fees at the landfill.

The increase would not directly impact most city residents, most of whom have curbside trash pickup provided by the city.

The city would not increase the $62-per-ton fee Hatch Hill charges the city to bring residents’ trash that is collected at curbside and brought to Hatch Hill. It would also not increase the fee for those who bring recycling there.


Nearly everyone else who uses Hatch Hill, including residents of Augusta and the eight other municipalities — Chelsea, Farmingdale, Gardiner, Hallowell, Manchester, Pittston, Randolph and Whitefield — who bring  their own trash to Hatch Hill, and private haulers who pick up trash in the surrounding communities and bring it to Hatch Hill, would pay 15% more in tipping fees.

That increase would boost the fees to bring trash there to between $62 and $115 a ton, depending on what is in the trash and other variables.

The expected hike in tipping fees follows an increase last year that boosted Hatch Hill’s fee for residential users and small commercial haulers from $77 to $88 a ton.

John Chalmers, the city’s director of solid waste, said landfill space in Maine is at a premium, because some landfills are closing and new facilities are not opening up to take their place. As a result, he said, the rates to bring trash to other landfills has gone up, and the city has gotten more and more calls from haulers looking to bring trash to Hatch Hill due to its low rates.

Chalmers said with a 15% increase, the Hatch Hill Landfill would still be within the range of rates charged by other waste disposal facilities in Maine, but on the high end of that range.

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