April 01, 2020

Coalition granted intervenor status Washington County residents worried about impact of proposed landfill

MACHIAS – The Clean Water Coalition has been granted intervenor status by the Land Use Regulatory Commission as the agency considers a request for rezoning 190 wooded acres to industrial use for a proposed landfill within rural Washington County.

LURC has scheduled a public hearing on the rezoning request for 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, at the University of Maine at Machias, Science Room 102.

Led by activist Nancy Oden of Jonesboro, the coalition is made up of Washington County residents concerned with the environment.

“The citizens have full intervenor status, and we are now on equal par with the applicant [for the zoning change],” Oden said Thursday at a meeting of the Washington County commissioners. “Preserving the woods, the water and the wildlife of Washington County is crucial.”

The Coalition received its intervenor status Wednesday when the LURC directors met in Caribou.

The proposed landfill would be in Township 14, between Routes 191 and 86, about four miles from the current site along Route 191.

In the works since the spring of 2005, the new landfill has been proposed by the directors of the Marion Transfer Station, a municipal corporation representing 15 towns and Washington County’s unorganized territories.

The transfer station directors want 190 acres within a 4,700-acre forested parcel rezoned. They are proposing a secure landfill largely for construction and demolition debris, also called CDD.

A copy of the plan for the landfill is available in the office of the Washington County commissioners for the public to view.

The representatives of the towns who make up the transfer station’s board of directors are: Dean Bradshaw of Dennysville, Dennis Bryant of Charlotte, Richard Carlow of Wesley, Jeff Crowe of Cooper, Ken “Bucket” Davis of East Machias, George “Bud” Finch of Eastport, Arthur Glidden of Lubec, John Ingersoll of Perry, John Leighton of Pembroke, John Pope of Whiting, Dean Preston representing the unorganized territories, and Karen Smith of Meddybemps.

The Marion Transfer Station would close if the new landfill were built.

The station contracts with debris haulers Mark Wright Construction and Disposal in Columbia Falls, who bring waste into Washington County from Mount Desert Island and other Hancock County towns, and D.M.&J. Enterprises of Winterport, from Thomaston, Bangor and Millinocket.

The directors’ application specifies that the landfill would be used for CDD generated “primarily” in Washington County.

But project engineer Dean Bradshaw said last April, as he described the project to the Washington County commissioners, that in reality, “about 60 percent” of the CDD is likely to come from beyond Washington County.

Oden is nervous that the proposed landfill might become a place for demolition debris left over from Hurricane Katrina.

After notifying the Washington County commissioners of the date and place for the LURC hearing, she asked them to join the Coalition in opposing the zoning change.

Chairman Kevin Shorey was absent, John Crowley said nothing, and Chris Gardner thanked her for her information.

The Clean Water Coalition was successful in its attempts over three years to keep a landfill from being built in Township 30, also in Washington County, in 1990.

“People don’t know about the Township 14 proposal yet,” Oden said. “But they also haven’t forgotten how we won the fight against the dump and its faraway filth they wanted in Township 30.”

Correction: This article ran on page C3 in the State edition.

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