Industry warns of biosolids capacity crisis in Maine

May 3, 2024
Maine’s Clean Water Industry warns of a capacity crisis of biosolids if no action is taken.

Maine became the first state in the nation to end beneficial land application of biosolids in 2022. A study was conducted Brown & Caldwell and informed by the Main Water Environment Association (MeWEA), and was funded by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

The report revealed that Maine’s only state-run landfill, Jupiter Ridge, was lacking in capacity. In 2023 the landfill suddenly stopped accepting biosolids, which sent local clean water treatment facilities into crisis within a 24-hour period.

The report projects that Jupiter Ridge will reach max capacity by 2028.

“Maine’s wastewater facilities are the last line of defense for clean water in Maine. Most, if not all, will run a risk of discharging untreated materials into Maine’s clean waterways if facilities lose the ability to dispose of biosolids. We need the help of the state to promptly address this statewide disposal crisis,” said David Hughes, superintendent, Scarborough Sanitary District, in a press release.

The report also underscores the importance of three other high priority recommendations for Maine policy makes to consider.

Firstly, to adopt federal biosolids PFAS limits once developed, which could safely reestablish beneficial reuse of biosolids again in the state.

Second, to create a capital funding platform to facilitate technology and pilot programs that reduce biosolid mass at a regional level.

And lastly, to expand capacity at Juniper Ridge and conduct an independent study to explore new treatment processes to inform future legislation.

The legislation and report of max capacity at Juniper Ridge places the state in a time a crunch so that pollutants don’t get passed into clean water ways.

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