- Casella Waste Systems has begun making its case for an expansion of the Juniper Ridge Landfill before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection, as reported by Maine Public Radio.
- In a plan supported by the state, Casella wants to nearly double capacity at the landfill in Alton, ME and extend its lifespan until approximately 2027. The landfill primarily accepts residual material from waste-to-energy (WTE) or recycling facilities.
- While the company says soil conditions can support the expansion, some residents are still concerned about potential leaks. Others also doubt Casella's claims that no out-of-state waste will be accepted.
Casella has been operating the state-owned Juniper Ridge Landfill for 13 years and worked with the Penobscot Energy Recovery Company during that time to reduce the amount of material coming into it. Now that Fiberight is slated to build a new WTE plant, the region's disposal infrastructure has begun to shift and final details of where certain municipalities will send their waste are still unknown.
In what is starting to become a new pattern for some landfill expansions, Casella has promised to use the new capacity wisely by encouraging recycling. This also happened at the Ontario County Landfill in New York where half of the $18 million Casella paid the county is dedicated to waste reduction programs. Landfills in other states also have been trying similar recycling and reduction programs as they near capacity.
The claims about out-of-state waste also follow a similar pattern of anti-import sentiment that has been seen elsewhere. Though data from the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF) actually showed interstate waste shipments decreasing between 2010 and 2013, feelings on the issue are still strong. One U.S. Senate candidate in Pennsylvania has even been trying to make it a campaign issue.