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Rhode Island Solid Waste Management Corporation Citizens Solid Waste Management Advisory Board Records of the Director

Historical note

The Citizens Solid Waste Management Advisory Board was created in 1974 per Chapter 176 whose purpose was to give advice to the corporation (Rhode Island Solid Waste Management Corporation) concerning rules and regulations and legislation affecting solid waste management, resource recovery, and recycling; to study the effects of existing recovery and recycling programs; to report its findings annually to the Governor and to recommend to the corporation, special studies and projects which it feels are needed to further economic solid waste management, resource, recovery, and recycling.

In 1973 the Governor’s Environmental Task Force’s Study of Solid Waste was formed to examine the approach of other states in solid waste management and identify the step which are essential to the development of a comprehensive, long-range Solid Waste Program.

Members of the Citizens Advisory Board had prior involvement in the early 70’s in the Recycling Committee of Ecology Action. This group reviewed recommendations of the 1969 Governor’s Task Force on Solid Waste. The subsequent legislation mandated planning but provided no funds or a coordinator to achieve it. In 1971, the Conservation Foundation awarded Rhode Island the first funds made available through EPA to demonstrate what citizen action could accomplish in the field of solid waste. The Steering Committee on Solid Waste was formed which included members of the original the Recycling Committee of Ecology Action and key public officials and representative of other concerned groups. The resulting studies of sub-committee/task forces formed within the Committee to study various topics were presented at a statewide solid waste conference on April 10. 1973.

In July 1973 EPA provided a small ($25,000) matching grant to Rhode Island to prepare a solid waste management framework plan. EPA also provided support to the Statewide Planning Program, which was acting as staff for the Governor’s Environmental Task Force, by commissioning Gordian Associates to prepare five position papers as a basis for work on the plan.

The Solid Waste Management Plan was completed in December 1973. Funding was sought through a referendum in November 1974 and the General Assembly passed legislation to create a Solid Waste Management Corporation and Advisory Board, and to establish a solid waste management facilities licensing program within the Health Department.

On September 30, 1974 the Solid Waste Management Corporation and Advisory Board was appointed and proceeded to seek funding through the referendum. Subsequently the bond issue failed before the voters. Grant funding was obtained from the EPA in August of 1975 and August 1976. A second bond issue failed in November 1976 but the 1977 legislature approved a five-year state loan of $500,000 to the Corporation. Other funding for the Corporation was subsidized from a thirty cents per capita surcharge on municipalities that contract with the Corporation for interim disposal arrangements.

In January of 1976, CE McGuire was selected by the Corporation to act as solid waste management consultants and to evaluate alternatives for resource recovery in Rhode Island. McGuire was also to assist in the preparation of a RFP for the procurement of a resource recovery system for the state.