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Groundbreaking Held for Braintree Transfer Station Renovations

The station on Ivory Street is owned by Covanta Energy, parent company of SEMASS.

Saying that the soon-to-be upgraded transfer station on Ivory Street will be a "signature site" when its multi-million dollar renovation is complete, Mayor Joseph Sullivan on Friday commended Covanta Energy and Braintree officials for coming together on a project that he said will solidify the town's relationship with the waste management company.

"The only way to be there for the next 20 years was to make it better," Sullivan said during a presentation prior to a groundbreaking ceremony at the station.

The $4 million to $6 million project follows that Sullivan signed with Covanta last year that allows the company to continue to accept up to 374,000 tons of waste at Ivory Street from Braintree, Weymouth, Quincy, Randolph, Waltham and parts of Boston. Solid waste collected at the facility moves from Braintree to a plant in Rochester, where it is combusted to generate renewable electricity for about 75,000 homes.

By the end of this month, Callahan Inc. of Bridgewater will begin construction on the facility. Scheduled improvements include enclosing the four large doors where trucks currently arrive to offload their contents, putting a new scale inside along with the station where the vehicles' tops are cleaned of refuse, constructing a new maintenance shed and moving the residential trash drop-off area to where recycling is now collected.

In addition, smell has long been an issue among the businesses and residents nearby, and Covanta hired a firm that specializes in pulling odor out of the air through advanced filtration to install a modernized system in Braintree. Officials have said the system's true test will likely come during summer 2013, after the upgrade is complete and warm weather kicks in.

"This is an important project for Braintree's future," Sullivan said in a statement. "The people of Braintree will benefit from savings on our trash disposal cost, a greater program on recycling and a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art facility that will modernize operations with improved aesthetics and include significant odor and noise reductions."

Depending on a variety of factors, including how much waste is processed annually, Chief of Staff and Operations Peter Morin said last year, Braintree will see over the length of the contract extension at least $10 million in savings to its waste budget, and perhaps more.

"This is phenomenal for Covanta, for the town, for the long-term partnership," Covanta VP Stephen Diaz said on Friday.

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