Hartford Leaders Want New Solution for Trash Troubles

The MIRA facility in Hartford sees hundreds of thousands of tons of garbage each year, but the facility has been shut down after two turbines broke.

Trash is piling up in Hartford after a plant was forced to shut down over broken equipment.

The issue is prompting one city leader to demand big changes.

Councilor James Sanchez said even if the plant is back up and running by the end of the month, it’s not good enough.

He wants the facility shut down and something better for the city put in its place.

For dozens of communities, the facility on Maxim Road in Hartford is where their trash goes.

MIRA, a quasi-state entity, also known as Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority said their trash to energy plant sees around 750,000 tons of garbage each year.

But for months now it’s been shut down after two turbines broke. And while the facility is closed, the trash keeps coming.

“I think everybody who has been paying attention and knows this facility has been nearing the end of its life for a long time and it's being held together with scotch tape and baling wire,” said Mayor Luke Bronin.

MIRA requested temporarily using the currently closed landfill off Jennings Road, but Bronin said that plan was a non-starter.

For now the waste that can’t fit in the plant is being shipped elsewhere. The mayor said it’s time for the state to consider what the next generation of trash disposal in Connecticut will look like.

”I think there's a very strong case to make that when you've got roughly 90 acres of riverfront land at the intersection of two major highways in your capital city it's not the best place to be burning half the state's trash,” Bronin said.

City Council Majority Leader James Sanchez thinks the time for change is now.

In a letter, he writes it’s time to get rid of MIRA and that “Connecticut must plan for and develop long-range solutions to solid waste management for municipal waste and abandon the Hartford facility.”

“I will tell you this: no other town in our region would accept to open up a trash to energy plant and that's called nimby - not in my backyard - well I'm telling you now, not in my backyard,” he told NBC Connecticut.

In a statement MIRA said in part “We agree it is critical to establish long term plans and investment to insure environmentally sound waste facilities continue to be available.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection put out a request for proposals to redevelop the facility and has chosen a developer to modernize it. But Sanchez said this plant does not belong in downtown Hartford.

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