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South Hadley forum to consider waste disposal

The town will host a forum to discuss the closing of the landfill and the future of the town’s solid waste disposal on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the town hall auditorium.

The forum is being held in response to the recent announcement that the landfill will shut down next year.

Advanced Disposal, the company that has been running the landfill for the town, informed officials here of its intent to close the landfill in a letter to the Select Board dated March 11. The decision was made after months of complaints that the facility was not managed according to government standards. The complaints included accusations of improper record keeping at the site, the acceptance of banned waste materials and air pollution.

Speakers at the forum will include Department of Public Works Superintendent Jim Reidy, Select Board Chairman John Hine, Board of Health member Suzanne Cordes and Conservation Commission member Jack Flemming.

According to Reidy, the town has received nearly $1.5 million a year in benefits from the landfill.

“We received $800,000 in host fees paid by Advanced Disposal,” said Reidy, “We were able to put our trash in there for free, which was a $300,000 benefit. They were also taking our sludge, which was another $300,000 benefit. And then there was about $100,000 in miscellaneous fees.”

South Hadley now has curbside trash collections through Allied Waste Services, a company based in Chicopee. The town uses a program in which residents must purchase green bags for trash disposal. With the landfill closing, the cost of the bags, which can be purchased at Big Y or Stop & Shop, could increase from the price of 50 cents for a small bag and $1 for a large one, Reidy said. He added that the town is also considering instituting a flat household fee of approximately $100 per year for trash collection.

The South Hadley Solid Waste Advisory Committee will meet Tuesday in Town Hall to discuss the town’s options and prepare recommendations for the Select Board.

— RACHEL DOUGHERTY

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