FARMINGTON — Selectmen approved a plan Tuesday for the town to retain the compost pad built by Sandy River Recycling Association in partnership with the town.

The plan is contingent on a vote of the association’s executive board this week to donate the bed and state license to the town, Thomas Eastler, professor of environmental geology at the University of Maine at Farmington, said of his proposal.

The Sandy River Recycling Association began a food composting program in 2006, the first such licensed project of its kind in Maine. It used food waste from the University of Maine at Farmington and Franklin Memorial Hospital to produce compost for lawns and gardens.

The university administration has approved a plan to “build and sustain a realistic educational program for dealing with food waste in Farmington,” according to the plan.

“As such, the compost coalition will continue the standard set by the SRRA in being the only publicly owned and managed compost facility in the state of Maine,” according to the proposal.

“It’s a fabulous opportunity for the future of the town,” Eastler said. It also keeps food waste “out of the waste stream, saving the town money.”


UMF administration has approved the plan and voluntary participation of students and faculty. It would have no expense in the project, he added.

Eastler said if the Department of Environmental Protection license needs to be renewed, he would pay the $288 fee.

The town previously waived its right to purchase the association building and property.

Although the composting program has made no money, combined efforts of the association and UMF students has produced 60 tons of compost, he said.

Stating that his plan needs to be fleshed out, Eastler volunteered to lead the effort.

During an approximately two-year planning phase, no composting would be done, he said. Grants would be pursued to help with the project. During the planning phase, no expenses are expected but there could be some later, Eastler said.

Eastler was given a month to return to the board with an idea for starting a new composting program and continuing the education effort.

Sandy River Recycling Association was formed in response to the state’s first Solid Waste Management Law in 1989, which encouraged recycling. It started in 1990 and is preparing to dissolve by June 30.

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