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DEP to host public meeting about proposed Juniper Ridge Landfill expansion

By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff

ORONO, Maine — The public and representatives of Casella Waste System will meet Monday night for what is expected to be a long, contentious discussion about a proposed 143-acre expansion of Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town.

Casella representatives will present their plans for the project and highlight how they believe the expansion will benefit the state and its residents.

Residents will get a chance to air their concerns, which have ranged from potential threats to the water supply and environment to increased truck traffic through Orono.

The meeting is set for 6-9:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, at the Black Bear Inn, 4 Godfrey Drive, Orono.

This meeting is part of the first step required of a landfill seeking to expand, according to Department of Environmental Protection spokeswoman Samantha DePoy-Warren.

Casella and the State Planning Office sent an application to the DEP in mid-September that seeks to prove there is a substantial public benefit to expanding the landfill.

After hearing more about the plan and gauging the public’s concerns, the DEP will determine whether a substantial public benefit exists. If it does, Casella can file another application seeking a license to begin the expansion.

DePoy-Warren said the DEP has 60 days after accepting the application to make a decision, but it plans to seek an extension to that deadline so it can thoroughly review the 206-page document. She said the public benefit determination should be finished early next year.

Casella submitted a similar application in 2009, which it withdrew after a draft denial by the DEP.

Don Meagher, manager of planning and development for Casella, said the company began reworking the application soon after to be sure the next draft would be accepted.

The application states that the Juniper Ridge expansion would “provide long-term statewide disposal capacity for the next 20 to 25 years that is not presently available elsewhere in the state.”

All documents submitted to the DEP by Casella are available at http://maine.gov/dep/rwm/juniperridge.

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