GREENVILLE, Maine — It was no surprise when Greenville officials received a schedule of compliance this month from the Department of Environmental Protection regarding the closing of the grandfathered landfill.
Since the landfill is contaminating groundwater, the DEP in 2006 told the town it must file a closing plan in three years. The agency did leave the town a little window of opportunity. If the town could show improvement in the quality of the groundwater at the landfill within the three years, the DEP said it would entertain the continued use of the facility, which has a life span of about 27 more years.
That’s not an option now since remediation efforts by the town during those three years have failed to stem the contamination, according to Town Manager John Simko. The contamination should not alarm residents because the groundwater meets Maine clean drinking water parameters, yet does not meet DEP standards, he said Thursday. The state agency has said there is no immediate threat from the contamination to a water body, yet the contamination is not acceptable under landfill regulations.
The DEP told town officials three years ago it hoped the town would put its resources toward closing the landfill and development of a transfer station. Instead, town officials and the town’s engineer, Shawn Small of Civil Engineering Services Inc. of Brewer, thought it best to work on corrective actions for continued use of the facility.
“We did, out of what we thought was the best interest of the town, focus on corrective action,” Simko said. “We were hopeful that with a variety of changes at the landfill that we would be able to remedy the groundwater contamination, but we have not been able to do so.”
The DEP now has requested the town to formally submit a closing plan by Oct. 1, Simko said. Once the plan has been submitted to the DEP and reviewed, the town would be expected to begin construction, likely in spring 2010, he said.
Since the closing will take much longer than that to do, Greenville officials will ask for an alternative plan that would span six years, Simko said. “It will probably take at least 18-20 months going straight ahead to close the landfill completely,” he said.
Simultaneous to closing the landfill, the DEP expects the town to submit a proposal for a transfer station license by Oct. 1. Once the license is approved, the station will have to be constructed and operational before the final closing of the landfill, according to the town manager.
“It’s a very condensed time frame and it’s very expensive for us to do both of those in the same time,” Simko said. He said town officials and the engineer plan to meet with DEP officials by the first week of April to discuss the possible changes.
To help fund the landfill closing and the transfer station, Simko said he’d seek funds from the federal stimulus package.
In another matter concerning trash, selectmen voted Wednesday to solicit bids for townwide rubbish collection. Simko said the town has had an excellent relationship with Moosehead Rubbish, the current contractor, and is happy with the service provided.
In fact, when town officials eliminated the one-day-a-month curbside collection of reyclables from March through June because of budget cuts, Moosehead Rubbish volunteered to continue the service those four months without pay in order to prevent layoffs. “That was very gracious of the company to do that,” Simko said.
Despite the working relationship, town officials felt it was good business practice to solicit bids for the service since they had not done so for about nine years.