Whitemarsh chooses to not renew with Covanta. Will send trash to a landfill

During last night’s meeting of Whitemarsh Township’s Board of Supervisors, the Supervisors had to make two decisions regarding its trash and recycling.

The first choice was whether to reward the lone bidder, J.P. Mascaro & Sons, the contract to collect the township’s trash and recycling. The second was what to do with the trash once it was collected (Covanta or J.P. Mascaro & Sons’ landfill between Pottstown and Reading).

J.P. Mascaro & Sons was the lone bidder for the collection and hauling contract. It was awarded for three years (with two one year extensions) by a vote of 4-0 (Mellissa Sterling was not present).

The issue of what to do with it once collected was more complicated. Currently, once collected, Whitemarsh’s trash is sent to the Covanta plant in Conshohocken (Plymouth Township) where it is incinerated. Burning the trash is part of a process to generate electricity.

Over the past year, there have been malfunctions at the plant that have resulted in neighbors complaining about noise, odors, and ash. Covanta has since announced that it will take steps to remedy the issues (but has denied the odor is from the plant in all but one incidence and disputes that the ash is from the plant).

Covanta has a bunch of contracts with municipalities expiring at the end of 2019. Local activists have been lobbying the local governments to either landfill or only sign a short term agreement with Covanta while other options are explored.

In our immediate area, Plymouth Township has signed a two-year extension with Covanta, West Conshohocken has signed a two-year extension, and Conshohocken is to make its decision on November 20th.

In the end, the Board of Supervisors voted 4-0 to utilize J.P. Mascaro & Sons’ landfill. Once collected, Whitemarsh’s trash will be taken to Bridgeport, where it will be transferred to larger trucks and taken to the landfill.

This process will cost households in Whitemarsh (that utilize the municipal service) an extra $52 a year.