Photo: Zendelle Bouchard
By Zendelle Bouchard
The contract that Sanford and 11 other southern Maine communities have with Casella for waste handling and disposal will expire in July 2025, and representatives from most of the municipalities met November 8, 2023, to begin discussion on renegotiating that contract as well as other options. The other towns in the group include North Berwick, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Old Orchard Beach, Wells, Dayton, Acton, Shapleigh, Buxton and South Berwick.
Sanford currently has a very low rate of $79.50 per ton for tipping of mixed solid waste, which includes the contents of the orange bags, demo debris, asphalt shingles and junk wood. The City has tipped an average of 4,182 tons per year over the past three years, making an average annual expense of approximately $332,469. The low rate we pay is the result of a lawsuit settlement. It is anticipated that by the time the contract expires, Sanford may be looking at a significantly higher rate, possibly as much as a 40-50% increase, but that will depend on negotiations. The current market rate is about $120 per ton.
The communities differ in how their solid waste is handled. Sanford is the only one that hauls its own waste to Casella, while others have separate transportation contracts with the company.
A new contract with Casella is not the only option; the tri-county group will also look at the possibility of switching to EcoMaine or Waste Management of NH.
Sanford City Manager Steve Buck and North Berwick Town Manager Dwayne Morin will lead the five-person committee to negotiate with Casella or another company. Legal representation will be utilized as well. There is a target date of December 2024 to lock in a new contract.
The City Council’s Solid Waste Subcommittee heard a report on the group meeting this week. This particular subcommittee meets sporadically, but is expected to meet more often over the next year to hear updates on the contract negotiations.
(Reports from Assistant City Engineer Matt Provencher and Executive Administrator Lorisa Ricketts were utilized in compiling this story.)