Wrong acronym confuses message

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — A recent letter from Eastern Maine Recycling to this town and member towns of the Acadia Disposal District referring to bypass activity at Coastal Resources of Maine contained an incorrect acronym that sent a different message than intended.

Eastern Maine Recycling is the transfer facility in Southwest Harbor, as well as being a hauler of solid waste from that town and the member towns of the Acadia Disposal District (ADD).

Acronyms can be tricky. They often make conversations and documents easier to navigate but can also quickly exclude those unfamiliar with what they represent.

Coastal Resources of Maine, known to many as the Fiberight facility in Hampden, is referred to as CRM in a document from Eastern Maine Recycling (EMR) sent out in December. The Hampden facility is also referred to as Coastal Resources in the letter and that is how we will proceed here.

At the end of 2019, Coastal Resources was unable to accept some loads of solid waste from its member towns, which could continue to happen as they work to increase their ability to accept solid waste from more municipalities. Community Service Director Shelby Wright explained this could be for several different reasons, including a full tipping floor, an equipment failure or a temporary shut down of the plant. In the case this happens, extra costs can be incurred by haulers, who bill the towns they work with, if the solid waste is transferred to another facility.

“Some of them incur no cost whatsoever,” said Wright in a conversation with the Islander this week. “Only if there’s any additional mileage does the hauler get reimbursed for that additional time.”

Additional costs have been reimbursed to towns from Coastal Resources since Nov. 1, 2019 and the Municipal Review Committee prior to that date when these bypass incidents have occurred.

The Municipal Review Committee, referred to by many as MRC, has an Orono address as its home base. Founded in 1991, MRC is a group of 115 Maine municipalities that have joined together as a nonprofit organization to manage their municipal solid waste issues, or, simply stated, trash.

With the same letters in their acronym, it is not difficult to confuse Coastal Resources (CRM) and MRC. While they both work with solid waste and many different towns, their purposes are quite different.

In the letter from EMR to the towns that is hauls for, it incorrectly stated “EMR billed CRM for six loads of MSW [municipal solid waste] that were shipped to WM [Waste Management in Norridgewock]. CRM has chosen to pay for only one load…” This was meant to refer to MRC, who has been managing the transfer of many municipalities’ solid waste to Coastal Resources and has reimbursed towns for additional charges incurred in bypass incidents.

According to Wright, Coastal Resources has come up with an hourly based formula to reimburse extra costs incurred in the event of a bypass. Eastern Maine Recycling has also come up with a formula to cover extra costs incurred in hauling loads.

Ben ‘Lee’ Worcester, who is the vice president of EMR and the one who wrote the letter to towns about the bypass charges, told the Islander towns were not being charged more than once for the costs.





Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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