OLD TOWN – The Municipal Review Committee now is looking at Juniper Ridge Landfill for solid waste disposal options post-2018.

After the Department of Environmental Protection issued a draft denial of the MRC’s request for a public benefit determination for a new landfill in either Argyle or Greenbush – a proposal that was sharply criticized – the MRC withdrew that application.

At the same the MRC, a quasi-municipal organization that represents more than 180 Maine communities, said it would continue to explore solid waste options for the future. The MRC has been concerned that trash costs will skyrocket when its contract with the PERC facility in Orrington, ends in 2018. At the end of that contract, PERC will lose a subsidy for energy it produces; while PERC has maintained it will stay in business, the MRC fears PERC will either close or the cost of disposing of waste their will double.

There were rumors even as the talks about the Argyle and Greenbush sites were still on the table that the MRC’s real objective was use of Juniper Ridge; while that rumor may not have been true at the time, it is now. According to a recent memo from MRC Executive Director Greg Lounder to MRC member cities and towns, the MRC is now evaluating arrangements for a mixed municipal solid waste and recycling facility at Juniper Ridge. Such arrangements, however, may be delayed, said Lounder, until questions of the state’s authority at the landfill can be answered.

“Further cooperation from the state, landfill operator and PERC will be required to allow for timely site development at this location,” wrote Lounder.

Lounder added the MRC also is pursuing promising opportunities to local a new mixed municipal solid waste and recycling facility at sites that are independent of any disposal facility, although he did not specify where. With this option, Lounder said the MRC would make arrangements for residual disposal facilities.

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