New Bedford-based ABC Disposal, Inc. is in the process of being sold to a larger nationwide company, WBSM News has learned.

Waste Connections U.S. Holdings, Inc., based in Texas, has entered into a deal to purchase ABC Disposal and its sister companies, a person with knowledge of the deal has confirmed to WBSM. The deal is expected to close sometime in February.

Michael Camara, President of ABC Disposal and CEO of New Bedford Waste Services, declined to comment when reached by email Friday night.

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WBSM News received a tip about a supposed sale of ABC Disposal back on January 12; when reached that day by phone, Camara dismissed the idea that the company had been sold.

New Bedford Waste Services Informed the Town of Rochester of the Sale

However, a letter was sent by Camara to Rochester Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar on December 17, 2021 to notify the town “of the pending sale of New Bedford Waste Services, LLC to Waste Connections U.S. Holdings, Inc. (or an affiliate thereof),” according to the letter.

WBSM News obtained a copy of that letter, which was also stamped “received” by the Rochester Board of Health on December 21.

What Is New Bedford Waste Services?

According to the website for New Bedford Waste Services, LLC, the company was created by Camara “to comply with the new restrictions (on dumping of certain types of waste materials into landfills) and to continue to lead in the business of waste processing.”

The website states that “along with processing/recycling of construction and demolition debris, New Bedford Waste Services is also permitted to transfer municipal solid waste for final disposal at various landfills and trash to energy plants. The ability to provide these services to Southeastern Massachusetts communities has benefited the various disposal companies and residents in the surrounding area.”

The company operates two plants: one in Rochester, and one in Sandwich.

ABC Disposal Will Retain Its Employees and Management Team

According to the person with knowledge of the deal, the New Bedford Waste Services sale will include ABC Disposal and all of its sister companies, but that all of the employees and the entire management team will remain the same. The person said some of the Camara family will be staying on as well.

Michael Camara seemed to confirm this in his letter to the Town of Rochester, stating that “one of (Waste Connections’) main goals for this market is to continue to acquire hauling companies,” he wrote. “In fact, one of my new responsibilities with WCI will be to work on those acquisitions.”

“I will continue to be around for some time,” he wrote.

What Is Waste Connections?

In the letter, Camara stated that Waste Connections “is the third-largest waste and recycling company in the United States and Canada,” and that the company operates “in 46 states and through Canada.”

According to Dun & Bradstreet, Waste Connections U.S. Holdings has 584 companies in its portfolio. Locally, it lists Mega Disposal and Patriot Disposal, both based in Seekonk, as its only SouthCoast operations, as well as operating three Rhode Island transfer stations in Pawtucket, Johnston, and Portsmouth.

It will also take over operations of New Bedford Waste Service’s facilities as well.

What Does the Sale Mean for the Rochester Facility?

Camara’s letter to the Town of Rochester stated that “as a condition of the sale, the Rochester Host Community Agreement will be assigned to Waste Connections” and that it should benefit the town financially.

“As they add many more new companies to their portfolio, there will also be a substantial amount of new volumes of municipal solid waste coming into the Rochester facility,” he wrote. “This will greatly benefit the Town of Rochester with a substantial amount of new host fees.”

Waste Connections is already looking to upgrade the facility as well, Camara wrote.

“A major investment will be made in the Rochester facility to improve baling capacity with a high performance baler,” he wrote. “This baler will bale three times the volume per hour and the bale weights will improve from 2,200 lbs. to 4,500 pounds. Double the bale weights will improve storage capacity.”

ABC Disposal Has a Storied History, But Also Some Controversy Over the Past Few Years

ABC Disposal, Inc. has been owned and operated by the Camara family since 1967. In addition to offering residential and commercial waste hauling services, the company also has numerous municipal contracts, including the one for the City of New Bedford.

In May of 2018, the City filed a lawsuit against ABC Disposal over the company’s increase in recycling fees, claiming that it violated the 10-year, fixed-price contract between the two parties that runs until 2023. ABC countersued, and stated that the increase in fees was necessary due to China’s changes in its recycling policies and what materials it would allow to be imported for processing. The jury ruled in the City’s favor in September 2021.

The Town of Plymouth terminated its contract with ABC Disposal over those same increased recycling fees in May of 2018.

In May of 2019, Zero Waste Solutions, LLC – another sister company of ABC Disposal – opened its 103,000-square foot recycling facility in Rochester.

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