2016-03-17 / Front Page

RFP on hold for new transfer station

By Ben Meiklejohn
Staff Writer

OLD ORCHARD BEACH – The town called back a request for proposal for construction of a Milliken Street transfer station due to lack of permit approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Assistant Town Manager V. Louise Reid said the town wanted to construct the transfer station as a temporary holding facility in the summer for bags of trash from receptacles downtown and on the beaches, before being transported to BBI Waste Industries at 1 Vallee Lane.

Reid said the permit for the transfer station may be approved this summer, but for this year, the town has contracted to have trash brought directly to BBI from downtown instead of being stored at Milliken Street first. Reid said the Department of Environmental Protection hasn’t rejected the permit; approving permits “is a long process.”

The town council unanimously approved a contract with Defining Lines Landscaping, Inc. for removal of trash during the tourist season from the beach and downtown, maintenance of restrooms and power washing of downtown sidewalks and benches. The contract was approved March 1, and will cost the town $165,000 each year. The town contracted for services in 2016 and 2017, with an option to renew in 2018.

Reid said the town wants to build a transfer station because traffic in the summertime can prove problematic for getting trash out of downtown during daytime hours.

“What traffic is like coming up Main Street and Saco (Avenue), and even going up Portland (Avenue), it will take forever,” Reid said.

Last year, the town received approval to store the trash in a truck, on a street in a residential area, Reid said. The trash was then removed from the area once the truck was full. Reid said the town didn’t receive any complaints about odors or smells.

Town councilor Kenneth Blow said the truck where trash was stored last year was out in the open on Seaver Street.

“I think that any resident’s concerns are valid, but I do believe that any odors could be derived from a transfer station wouldn’t be an issue,” Blow said.

Blow used to own BBI Waste Industries and is now an employee there.

“My experience, being in the business, is that there would not be any issues,” he said. “I’m in the trash business, so I know. We have physical trash trucks next to our offices and they don’t smell. It’s about keeping things clean.”

Blow said trash wouldn’t sit long in the transfer station and would be kept in a truck inside the building instead of being kept on the floor.

“This building would be a very nice building,” Reid said. “I understand the neighbors being concerned, but the town is doing everything it can to make the building look nice and not smell.”

Since the town did not know whether the transfer station would be approved in time for the tourist season, Reid said the town asked for companies to submit bids for both a plan A and plan B when submitting contract proposals, plan A if trash could be stored on Milliken Street and plan B if trash would need to be transported directly to BBI.

In a memorandum to the council before the vote, Town Manager Larry Mead recommended Defining Lines out of the six companies that bid on downtown waste management.

“The staffing plan is realistic and sufficient to do the required work and to maintain a high standard of quality,” Mead said. “The company is locally owned and the owner will be regularly onsite and quickly available to respond as needed to issues that arise. The company has a maintenance facility in Scarborough that will allow for storage of equipment and supplies.”

While most companies bid separate amounts for each of plans A and B, Defining Lines bid the same price for both plans at $187,500, which the town was able to negotiate down to $165,000.

Blow said that generally, taking trash directly to BBI Waste Industries from downtown on a regular basis would require more labor, resulting in higher costs. However, Blow said the town was fortunate that Defining Lines did not bid a higher amount for plan B than plan A.

Mead said in his memo that Defining Lines offered the second-lowest bid. There were concerns about whether the lowest bidder could really provide adequate staffing to meet the town’s needs, which contributed to why Defining Lines was ultimately recommended, he added.

According to the minutes of the March 1 meeting, Milliken Street resident Jack Sarno requested the council to only accept plan B for all three years. The council instead kept the motion open-ended, indicating that it would be plan B in 2016, but leaving it open for either plan in 2017 and 2018.

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