MANCHESTER – After several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Earth Compost continues to hope to open its new Cape Ann regional composting facility at Manchester Transfer Station by autumn this year.

“We want to build this summer and hopefully open by autumn,” said Andrew Brousseau, partner and compost manager at Black Earth Compost, “but it’s up to the city to work with us on certain design parameters.”

Black Earth is currently finalizing the final drafts for the website.

“We are negotiating the final designs for the building with the city,” says Brousseau. said, “It’s a small, advanced facility where all food is supposed to be broken down in an enclosed area. It’s all ready to go, we just need the city to sign it. “

The city had earmarked a US $ 400,000 grant from the State Department of Environment for the specific purpose of building a composting facility. In addition, officials had spent $ 75,000 planning the property on Pine Street behind the 2001 Pipeline Road transfer station (Upper Pine Street). The Fall Town Meeting in 2019 voted for the composting facility and spent $ 300,000 on construction. Black Earth raised an additional $ 300,000 after being officially signed on to the project.

“Now it’s up to $ 800,000,” Brousseau said. “That’s one of the things we want to negotiate with the city to keep costs down.”

Just a few months after the project received the green light from residents, COVID-19 struck.

“It really slowed things down because the Board of Selectmen was really involved in managing COVID as they should,” Brousseau said. “Other projects have had to go to the sidelines, but the Board of Selectmen has twice confirmed that they are on board.”

Manchester is one of the Black Earth communities with its roadside compost collection program. Everyone in the Cape Ann area can remove organic material at the new location in an environmentally friendly and inexpensive way.

“Homegrown (landfill) solves a huge problem in Manchester,” said Brousseau. “The recycling prices are going through the roof. Manchester’s tip fee rose from $ 60 per ton to $ 90 just last year. “

Black Earth previously opened a composting facility in Groton. Last year the company converted the old baseball diamond in Mack Park in Salem into a compost drop-off point.

“We want to open up more, too,” Brosseau continued. “This site will be the pride of Manchester. Other cities will use it as a model. “

Michael Cronin can be contacted at 978-675-2708 or [email protected]