The city of Old Town wants to shutter its remaining unlined landfill, but how exactly it plans to close it would be a first for the state, if approved. The city filed an application with Maine Department of Environmental Protection on July 19 requesting to close Old Town’s construction and demolition debris landfill that has been inactive since 2014.
Typically, towns elect to cover a landfill and seal the contents in the ground, but in Old Town’s case, officials want to completely unearth a pile of garbage and haul it 4.8 miles down the road to another landfill. The move would mark a departure from the way Maine towns and cities have handled the closing of landfills since the state started encouraging it more than 30 years ago.
City Manager Bill Mayo said landfills like the one Old Town wants to get rid of are a potential liability as they are generally unlined — meaning as the materials inside the pit decompose they could produce dangerous chemicals or toxic materials that could go straight into the ground, contaminating soil. The plan is to use a large excavator to dig out the waste and haul it by trucks to Juniper Ridge Landfill — a state of the art and state-owned facility located on Old Town and Alton property.