SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 21, 2014

A new lease on life for Hamilton landfill?

Town seeks company to build anaerobic digester

HAMILTON — The town is searching for a company to build an organic waste processing facility at the old town landfill off Chebacco Road.

The facility, known as an anaerobic digester, would use microorganisms to break down organic matter, producing a biogas to generate electricity. The town would lease the land to a company, which would be responsible for building and operating the facility, according to Town Manager Michael Lombardo. The terms of the lease would be negotiated.

The organic materials would be brought to the facility by the company, he said.

The town put out a request for proposals at the end of last year, and town officials walked the site with interested companies last week, Lombardo said. Seven or eight companies have expressed interest, he said.

“It shows there is solid interest in doing this,” Lombardo said. Selectmen would have to approve any proposal before a company could move forward with plans.

He said the town might hold additional meetings for other interested companies before proposals are due March 4.

The site was a town landfill from 1959 to 1983. A 7-acre portion of the landfill was used as a burn dump until the 1970s; it was closed in 1980 and partially capped.

“The town has been looking into both closing the landfill and turning it into a productive asset for many years,” Selectman Marc Johnson said.

He said the town looked into using the land for commercial or office space, but there wasn’t any interest from developers when a previous request for proposals was sent out. The focus quickly shifted to renewable energy — wind, solar and an anaerobic digestion facility — which is a popular use for old landfills in other communities.

The former landfill is approximately 12.7 acres. Lombardo said the anaerobic digester would be located on about 3 acres, and another 4 to 5 acres would be available for a future solar field.

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