A new solar farm planned for Portland could be in jeopardy.
The site is an old landfill, which the city now says needs some major work before anything can go on top of it.
The city had hoped to install more than 3,000 solar panels on the 4-acre landfill before the end of the year, but they say now, because of how many people use this area, as well as lack of maintenance over the years, that timeline may be pushed back.
With acres of walking dogs and wild flowers, it’s hard to tell what lies beneath the grassy mountain.
“It’s just packed down from a lot of people walking on it. A lot of people mountain bike back here,” Robert Bond, a local man who walks his dog at the site, told CBS 13. “The water gets red and rusty. It’s obvious something’s leaching into it, but exactly what it is, I don’t know.”
The Ocean Avenue Landfill was closed in the 1970s and eventually capped off in the 1990s, but over the years, things have deteriorated.
From bricks to bags, residents say trash has been uncovered over the years.
Concerned residents say there’s a lot to be done before panels are installed.
“It has taken the solar array project to bring this to light,” said Kim Rich, a District 4 City Council candidate who has advocated for additional work at the site. “Upon further inspection because of the solar array, it turns out there should definitely be some methane gas remediation that was never done, and that’s a very serious issue.”
City officials say they’re working with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to install methane vents and add soil to the top of the old landfill. The work has been jumpstarted to make way for the solar project.
The city still hasn’t said how long it may take to fix the issues at the landfill.