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Waste Contract Extension to Save Braintree Millions

On Monday afternoon, Mayor Joseph Sullivan and an executive with Covanta/SEMASS, which operations the facility on Ivory Street, signed a contract through 2030.

Mayor Joseph Sullivan on Monday signed a contract to extend Braintree's lease agreement with the operator of the transfer station on Ivory Street through 2030, clearing the way for a visual and aromatic upgrade to the facility and at least $10 million in savings for the town.

SEMASS, the local body of Covanta Energy Corporation, has been providing waste management services to Braintree for more than 20 years and will continue under the signed extension 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.

"We find ourselves in a situation where we can cement the relationship between Covanta and the town of Braintree," Sullivan said during a ceremony at on Monday afternoon. He added, regarding the upgrade, "There will be a significant positive improvement to the facility."

The renovations are expected to begin sometime this summer, after permitting from the health, conservation and planning boards, and will cost between $4 million and $6 million. They were and include enclosing the area where trucks currently arrive to drop off waste, putting a new scale inside, along with the station where the vehicles' tops are cleaned of refuse, constructing a new maintance shed and moving the residential trash drop-off area to where recycling is now collected.

"On an August afternoon you can smell SEMASS," Sullivan said. "Odor mitigation" will decrease a significant portion of that problem. Added Stephen Diaz, vice president of Covanta, "We're excited about the opportunity to upgrade this to a state-of-the-art facility that we can all take advantage of for years to come."

The facility will remain open during construction, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2012. Braintree began its original agreement with SEMASS in 1988, after the site had been used as a municipal dump and smokeless incinerator. This extension is the 10th amendment to that first contract, Sullivan said.

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

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