State approves Juniper Ridge expansion license

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Barring an appeal,the expansion of Juniper Ridge Landfill has been approved at the  state level, more than five years after plans for that step originally were announced.

The plan to expand the landfill, which is operated for the state by Casella Waste Systems subsidiary NEWSME, was originally announced in 2011; the following year, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection issued partial approval for a Public Benefit Determination for the expansion, with conditions included. The DEP approval was for scaled back additional landfill capacity of 9.35 million cubic yards, which decreased from the original 21.9 million cubic yards of additional capacity proposed.

From then to now, the license had gone through a maze of regulatory twists and turns, including being put under the wing of different state agencies, the license review being shifted from the DEP to the Board of Environmental Protection, intervenor actions, hearings and review upon review. On June 1, the BEP granted the license for the expansion.

Under terms of the license, the existing solid waste footprint at Juniper Ridge will be expanded by 54 acres, to be developed in phases. An additional 20 acres is planned for ancillary infrastructure including roads, piping, sedimentation ponds, scales, and buildings. The proposed expansion would extend the life of the landfill by approximately 10 to 12 years.

The proposed expansion design consists of various engineered systems for the construction and operation of the landfill. Landfill gas generated on-site will be combusted in the facility’s flare; the leachate from the expansion will be treated off-site, as is the current practice. The requested wastes to be placed in the proposed expansion are similar to the accepted wastes currently allowed in the existing landfill. The accepted wastes will include only non-hazardous waste generated within the State and will not include municipal solid waste, except for what is termed MSW bypass.

Based on comments received, revisions were made to the license as approved, including, but not limited to, general clarification language, revisions to the liner system barrier soil test pad language, added information on the association between wetlands and the proposed underdrains, additional clarification of the allowance of only MSW bypass in the proposed expansion, removal of the provision governing waste delivered under an interruptible contract, revisions to the bypass notification requirement, and the addition of a provision for third part audits.

The BEP decision does allow for appeal to Superior Court. Such a step would have to be taken within 30 days from when the BEP approved the license.

Approval is also needed by the Old Town Planning Board for the expansion to proceed.