Landfills are essential for waste management purposes; and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection requires that they operate under a number of permits and guidelines to ensure the safety of the environment. The Tri-Community landfill in Fort Fairfield violated one back in 2011 and now faces penalty fees. But the people we spoke with today say the outlooks not all that bad. In fact, positive improvements have been implemented at the facility as a result of it.
The Tri-Community Recycling and Sanitary Landfill on the Murphy Road in Fort Fairfield serves about 36 towns in Aroostook County and it’s been in operation for over 35 years.. In 2011 the facility had a bit of a hiccup– an operational issue following heavy rainfall. And because of it the site was fined $3,500 for violations.
Nick Archer, The Regional Director of the Northern Maine DEP said, “Last several years in Aroostook County the summers have been very very wet. And when you’re operating a landfill the size of Tri-Community it’s very hard to contain everything when you have so much water.”
Solider Waste Director of the Tri-Community Landfill Mark Draper said, “It created some challenges for us at Tri-Community in terms of water that was running off of the landfill, and we didn’t respond to those challenges as well as the DEP would’ve expected us to.”
The Director of the Landfill says there are multiple licenses, rules, and regulations that it has to follow; and this particular incident was related to storm water management. Tri-Community has taken several proactive steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again; like buying new equipment and implementing projects that have significantly improved the environmental performance of the facility.
Nick Archer, The Regional Director of the Northern Maine DEP said, “Tri-Community landfill operates very well and is well operated in particular in the last couple years since the incident.”
The Northern Maine Regional DEP Director says the Landfill didn’t intend to violate the permit and permits aren’t violated regularly at Tri-Community.
Solider Waste Director of the Tri-Community Landfill Mark Draper said, “When we had our inspection this year by the DEP we found nothing but positive things so that tells me that the steps that we’ve implemented are working.”
The Tri-Community landfill is about 25 acres in size. It serves over half of the population of Aroostook County with both solid waste disposal as well as recycling services.