GREENVILLE, Maine — Town officials are hoping the Department of Environmental Protection will allow the town to do a phased-in multiyear closure plan for the landfill that differs from the department’s schedule of compliance.
The DEP has requested the town formally submit a closing plan by Oct. 1, and begin the work by spring 2010. The town, on the other hand, hopes to get permission to close the grandfathered landfill in phases from 2010 to 2014, according to Town Manager John Simko.
Because the landfill is contaminating groundwater, the DEP in 2006 told the town it must file a closing plan in three years, but did leave the town a little wiggle room. If the town could show improvement in the groundwater quality within those three years, the DEP said it would entertain the continued use of the facility, which has a life span of at least 20 more years. But DEP officials also encouraged the town to put its resources toward closing the landfill and development of a transfer station.
The town and 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, but those measures have failed to change the results. While the groundwater meets Maine clean drinking water parameters, it is not acceptable under the DEP’s landfill regulations.
A phased-in proposal recommended by the town would allow the town to use cover material from the landfill, use its own personnel and equipment, and budget the costs over time for less of an impact on property tax payers. If the town’s proposal is approved, the closing costs are estimated at $500,000, Simko said.
The DEP is expected to act on the town’s request within the next few weeks.
Simko said efforts also are being made to have the town in line for state reimbursement for the landfill costs should any funds become available in the future. He said Rep. Pete Johnson, R-Greenville, intends to submit emergency legislation later this month to amend the reimbursement law.
If passed, Greenville, Presque Isle, Brewer and West Forks, which built or expanded landfills before the law change that prohibited them, would be eligible for any future landfill closing funds. Greenville would be eligible for between 75 percent to 90 percent of the closing costs, Simko said.
In conjunction with the landfill work, the town is moving forward with plans for a transfer station. To help municipal officials decide what avenue to take, residents are asked to attend a public hearing at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, in the municipal building. Simko said residents can comment on what they like and dislike about the solid waste program. That discussion would include days and hours of operation, curbside pick-up, as well as fees.