Despite the opposition of rail trail advocates, Cavossa Disposal Corporation is on track to begin operations at the Upper Cape Regional Transfer Station in September.
The transfer station board of managers awarded a 4.5-year contract to the East Falmouth-based trash hauler during a meeting Monday morning with a vote of 3-1.
The vote was a welcome development for Carl F. Cavossa Jr., who said his disposal company has had an eye on the property for more than six years, specifically because of its access to the rail line.
Mr. Cavossa plans to use the facility and associated railway to transfer solid waste in the immediate future, with the intention of expanding to construction and demolition waste within the next few months.
Mr. Cavossa asserts that his operation will help drive down waste costs on Cape Cod, by combating the monopoly held by Southeastern Massachusetts (SEMASS) Resource Recovery Facility.
“The operation of this facility by a private company or by the towns is going to be an asset to all the businesses on the Cape, because it gives you another option for waste disposal,” Mr. Cavossa said Monday afternoon. “Right now… your only option is SEMASS. There’s nowhere for all this [waste] to go.”
Mr. Cavossa hopes to have the facility up and running by September 18, and plans to expand operations as soon as his company can secure a permit from Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to process C&D waste. That process could take anywhere from 30 days to four months, he predicted.
The corporation has already been in talks with several end disposal sites. Mr. Cavossa plans to use Lafarge Landfill in Ohio, operated by Lordstown Construction Recovery, LLC, for disposal of C&D waste. He is still in negotiations with a company for disposal of municipal solid waste.
Mr. Cavossa is also contemplating possibilities for hauling material back to Cape Cod in return trips from out of state. One option would be white limestone, which is mined in quarries at the Lafarge disposal facility. White limestone can be used to fill gravel driveways, but Mr. Cavossa said seashells are often substituted for limestone on the Cape because of the high price of trucking it over the bridge.
Under Cavossa Disposal Corporation’s contract with the Upper Cape towns, the disposal company is allowed to process up to 50,000 tons of waste a year, imported from Barnstable, Nantucket and Duke’s counties. Mr. Cavossa said he does not yet have plans to import waste from the islands but is open to the idea.
“This is like opening a Starbucks. Who’s going to show up? I don’t know, I can’t predict that,” he said.
Plans are to staff the facility with four or five employees, and operate from 5 AM to 4 PM on Monday through Friday. The facility will be closed on Sundays but may operate on Saturdays, depending on demand.
There are currently no plans for Cavossa Disposal Corporation to lease a portion of the transfer station site to Saltine Warrior Inc. for storage of road salt.
The transfer station board of managers originally received a proposal from Saltine Warrior in response to the request for proposals but rejected it under the assumption that the company could negotiate directly with the future station contractor to lease a portion of the site.
Although the option remains open, Mr. Cavossa said he did not want to enter into a contract with any salt storage company until his company has secured the property and gotten operations underway.
Before Cavossa Disposal Corporation can begin operation, the company will need to make repairs to a truck scale on the property and install new computer software.
Cape Rail Inc., which encompasses Massachusetts Coastal Railroad and Cape Cod Central Railroad, has already begun repairing rotted timbers and cutting away vegetation along the railroad track as well, Mr. Cavossa said.
Cavossa Disposal Corporation will pay the four towns an incremental base fee of $6,000 a month beginning in September, $78,000 a year in 2018, $84,000 in 2019, $90,000 in 2020, $96,000 in 2021 and $102,000 per year from 2022 to 2025. In addition, the corporation will pay a performance-based fee of $1.50 per ton of hauled waste.
The contract also stipulates that Cavossa Disposal Corporation be responsible for liquidated damages amounting up to $78,000 if the contractor defaults on its obligations, and maintain a $200,000 performance bond.
The corporation’s contract will expire on December 31, 2022, but the board of managers also has the option of extending the lease for up to three years if it determines that an extension would serve the public interest.
Bourne representative Daniel T. Barrett voted against awarding the contract on Monday, at the direction of the Bourne Board of Selectmen.
Selectmen requested earlier this month that the contract be delayed until all options for a potential bike path connector between North Falmouth and the Cape Cod Canal could be explored.
The Cape Cod Commission released a feasibility study in March outlining three possible options for a bike path along the rail line. The least expensive option proposed to remove 6.8 miles of existing railway known as the Falmouth Secondary line, which has a rail spur located on the transfer station property.
Monday’s vote comes as a disappointment for proponents of the rail trail, in particular the nonprofit organization Friends of the Bourne Rail Trail.
Friends members have been lobbying before the board of managers and four town boards of selectmen in recent months to delay the vote. Despite members’ efforts, the towns of Mashpee, Falmouth and Sandwich stood in support of the transfer station proposal and use of the rail line.
Mr. Cavossa, who was previously president and vice president of the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce, spoke in support of the bike path in general but urged supporters to consider alternatives to ripping up the railroad tracks.
“I know that tourism is very, very important, not only for my business but for all the businesses on the Cape,” he said. “The Bourne rail trail is a critical piece of eco-tourism but it makes no sense at all to removed one asset—the railroad—to create another asset—the rail trail. Let’s find the right place for the rail trail.”
The board of managers plans to hold another meeting on September 13 at 9 AM in Mashpee Town Hall to discuss the operations timeline with Mr. Cavossa.