The state has ordered the everlasting closure of a Bucksport landfill that it says has been comparatively dormant in recent times and has not been correctly maintained.
The Maine Division of Environmental Safety notified AIM, the mill’s proprietor, that the landfill is in violation of its working allow. The state company additionally mentioned that AIM should develop a plan to completely shut the landfill and supply to the state a schedule for finishing the work.
“Please submit the plan by January 1, 2024, and plan to finish closure development within the 2026 development season,” Karen Knuuti of the DEP’s division of supplies administration wrote in an Aug. 4 letter to Bucksport Mill, the AIM subsidiary that owns the 109-acre website.
Officers with AIM and its employed consulting agency, Haley Ward, didn’t reply Tuesday to emailed requests for remark.
The landfill was owned by a sequence of firms that operated the previous native paper mill, which ceased operations in 2014. American Iron and Steel purchased the property to demolish the mill and dump the scrap, and on the identical time acquired the landfill, which is situated off Route 15 throughout the highway from the previous mill website.
The state’s working allow for the landfill restricts it to getting used just for wooden waste and development and demolition particles that’s generated instantly on the former mill property by its proprietor. AIM has since divided and offered off the previous mill property and, as a result of it doesn’t generate any such waste, the landfill primarily has been dormant for the previous a number of years.
Final fall, AIM contacted the city to counsel that the 2 may associate to revive operations on the website. New privately owned landfills will not be allowed in Maine, but when AIM gave possession of the property to the city, the corporate may function the landfill and settle for wooden waste and development and demolition particles, with Bucksport getting a share of the ensuing tipping charges.
Space residents who say the landfill is an environmental hazard opposed the plan, nevertheless, and city officers expressed some skepticism concerning the concept. With a purpose to discover out extra concerning the situation of the landfill, the city began requesting details about the landfill from the DEP.
“If somebody tries to promote you one thing, it’s important to verify to see what you’d be shopping for,” Susan Lessard, Bucksport’s city supervisor, mentioned Tuesday.
Lessard mentioned Bucksport was not glad that the landfill doesn’t have a liner to maintain out water infiltration and that untreated leachate from the landfill flows instantly into the Penobscot River, although each these items are allowed beneath the landfill’s working allow. She mentioned that because it researched the situation of the location, the city additionally adopted a neighborhood landfill operation ordinance, with a purpose to give it some regulatory management over how the landfill can be operated if AIM sought out a special municipal associate for the property.
Lessard mentioned the elected city council hasn’t formally weighed in on the DEP’s order to completely shut the landfill, however that no city officers have advocated for maintaining it going.
Shutting it down “can be in the very best pursuits of everybody,” mentioned Lessard, who additionally serves as chair of the state’s Board of Environmental Safety. “It appears to make good sense.”
The state, in flip, compiled an inventory of points concerning the landfill that must be addressed simply with a purpose to adjust to its license. Amongst them, in accordance with the Aug. 4 letter, was offering annual proof of enough legal responsibility insurance coverage, documentation of normal inspections, annual water high quality check outcomes, and upkeep work and subsequent inspections of varied components of the landfill’s leachate assortment system, amongst different issues.
Different points that AIM was supposed to handle in 2022 nonetheless haven’t been fastened and, since 2014, the state has been telling AIM that the north slope of the landfill wants be completely closed — however that additionally has not been performed.
“This isn’t acceptable,” Knuuti wrote within the letter. “The work ought to have been performed in 2015, then in 2016, then in 2018. Plans, drawings, and development paperwork had been authorised.”
Past addressing these points, Knuuti mentioned that as a result of AIM now not generates any licensed waste on the former mill website, which is the one permitted materials that may be deposited on the landfill, the landfill have to be completely closed.
Officers with the state company didn’t reply to a request for remark concerning the order to completely shut the landfill.