New Bedford Recycling Facility Drops Sewage Processing Plans
NEW BEDFORD — City officials announced Friday that Parallel Products, the company that owns a recycling processing facility in the New Bedford Business Park, has abandoned plans to include sewage processing at its facility expansion project.
Parallel Products has instead reached a host community agreement with the city that would ban all sewage at its expanded facility at 100 Duchaine Boulevard.
The agreement would also see trucks banned from Phillips Road and the company pay fees towards neighborhood improvements, city officials stated in a release.
The announcement comes after years of fighting from New Bedford in opposition to the proposed project, after the city administration sent multiple letters to state officials and agencies starting in 2020.
New Bedford officials argued that the environmental impacts of a sewage and construction debris processing facility were not properly explored in an impact report, among other issues.
According to the agreement, the expansion of the recyclables processing plant will not apply for any approvals authorizing biosolids — a euphemism for sewage — at the site.
Instead, Parallel Products will build an enclosed trash facility, and will pay the city $2 per ton of waste processed, resulting in an estimated $800,000 payment in the first year.
Half of the funds will be used for public improvement projects in the area, including in the Pine Hill Acres, Briarwood and Sassaquin neighborhoods.
Approval from the city council will be required to establish the fund, the release noted.
Along with the extra fees, the company estimates the new facility will result in a $200,000 increase in real estate taxes and the creation of 75 new jobs.
If New Bedford sends its municipal waste to the facility, it would also pay the lowest price the company charges for other comparable customers, according to the release.
“We made clear from the start that any expansion must protect public health and safety, mitigate environmental risks, and offset the impact to nearby neighborhoods,” Mayor Jon Mitchell said.
“By eliminating biosolids from the plan and securing significant financial benefits for neighbors, this agreement achieves those goals and more.”
“We’ve always said we’d never allow a sludge plant in New Bedford, and we’re very happy with what the Mayor has accomplished and that this agreement prevents that,” said state Rep. Paul Schmid.
“A major concern of residents was the processing of biosolids, and I’m very happy that we were able to prevent this," Ward 1 City Councilor Brad Markey said. "Additionally, we’ll keep significant money from the agreement in Ward 1 to benefit our neighborhoods."
City Council President Ian Abreu called the agreement "a great deal for the city and the nearby residents."
“The concerns of the neighborhood were heard loud and clear, and that’s how we arrived at this deal," he added.