The Housatonic Resources Recovery Authority, also known as HRRA, is the regional municipal solid waste (MSW) and recycling management organization for the Housatonic Valley municipalities of Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Danbury, Kent, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Redding, Ridgefield, and Sherman.
The Authority is made up of one representative and one alternate from each municipality for a total of 22 members. The Chief Elected Official of each municipality either serves as his/her community’s representative to HRRA or appoints another representative as well as an alternate.
The HRRA meets four times per year, with an annual meeting in June. All meetings of the HRRA are open to the public and agendas are posted prior to each meeting in all member municipalities as well as sent to local media. Meetings of the HRRA include the opportunity for public comment as an agenda item.
The vote of each member municipality on the Authority is proportional to the municipality’s population as a percentage of the population for the region in the last completed census. At the annual meeting, the Authority elects five officers from among its members to serve as Chairman, Vice Chairman, Treasurer, Vice Treasurer and Secretary.
The HRRA has a staff of two, a Director and an Assistant to the Director. The Authority shares office space with the Town of Brookfield Park & Rec Department a the Old Town Hall, 162 Whisconier Road in Brookfield, CT 06804, and may be contacted by phone Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at (203) 775-4539, or anytime by e-mail at info@HRRA.org.
Considered a municipal agency under CT State Statutes, the HRRA’s duties, authority and operating procedures come from CGS 7-273aa -7-273oo, from concurrent ordinances adopted by all member municipalities, from the Authority’s bylaws, and from its contractual obligations.
The HRRA was created in July 1986, at a time when most municipal landfills in the region were nearing capacity and the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was not approving permits for new landfills or landfill expansion.
Studies undertaken by the HVCEO showed that area municipalities would benefit by working together to solve the region’s solid waste disposal problems. Those findings were published in the HVCEO Planning Bulletin No. 39 (October 1985) Implementing Resource Recovery. State funding for detailed solid waste disposal studies on which to base informed decisions was available only to regional resource recovery authorities at the time, and the municipalities were under a state mandate requiring that: Each municipality shall make provisions for the disposal of solid waste generated within its borders (CGS 22a-220 (a)). These reasons provided the impetus for formation of the HRRA in order to provide a long range solid waste management solution for the Housatonic region.
Currently, after separation from recyclables, MSW from HRRA municipalities is collected by private haulers at curb side from residential dwellings, by container from commercial establishments or by municipally-contracted haulers from local drop off centers and transfer stations and taken to one of three regional transfer stations operated by Wheelabrator Environmental Systems, Inc. (WES) on behalf of the HRRA in Danbury, Newtown or Ridgefield. From these three regional transfer stations, MSW is trucked to one of two WES resource recovery facilities in Bridgeport or Lisbon, CT, or taken to other legally permitted WES disposal sites outside CT. The resource recovery plants generate saleable electricity, turning waste to energy by burning the MSW at very high temperatures.
The HRRA took on added responsibility for regional recycling when the State Mandatory Recycling Act took effect on January 1, 1991. All the HRRA municipalities participate in the HRRA recycling region with the exception of Redding and Ridgefield, who maintained their previously existing recycling programs and contracts in compliance with state law.
With a $2,000,000 grant from the State DEP, the HRRA purchased recycling sorting equipment and machinery and entered into a contract with the privateÂ transfer station, located at 307 White Street in Danbury, to construct and operate a facility for recyclables collected throughout the region.
As required by state law, recyclables from the HRRA communities are separated from MSW by the consumer or generator and picked up at curb side, or from recycling containers or from local drop off or recycling centers by private haulers for delivery to the Danbury Transfer Station. At the transfer station, glass, metal, #1 -#7 plastics, tin, newspaper, magazines and cardboard are separated from any non-recyclable contaminants. All materials, except for glass, are baled and shipped to various markets to be recycled into renewable packaging products. Glass is separated by color and loaded into concrete bunkers to await shipment to various markets to be turned into renewable beverage containers.
Since 1992, the HRRA has worked to assist member municipalities to organize at least one Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection event for residents of each town per year. Without such collections, residents would have no cost effective, legal and environmentally safe way to dispose of HHW.
The HRRA is funded entirely by user fees, i.e. a program fee for each ton of MSW tipped at a HRRA-sponsored transfer station, by an administrative fee for each ton of recyclables tipped at the Oak Ridge Transfer Station, by a revenue sharing percentage when markets are strong for recycling, by hauler permit fees of $250 per year per truck, and by grants. Municipalities do not subsidize the Authority’s operation with annual appropriations of tax dollars. Municipalities do, however, pay directly for their share of the HHW events according to the number of their residents participating in a given year. The annual operating budget for the HRRA, including 3 HHW collection events, is approximately $461,000.
The 29 year Wheelabrator Contract will expire on June 30, 2019 and be replaced with a new Solid Waste and Recycling Agreement that will take effect July 1, 2019.
For more information or to contact the HRRA, call (203) 775-4539.