The $90 million waste processing plant in Hampden that’s been shut down since last year will have its heat restored as the bondholders that funded the plant’s construction look for a buyer.
A group representing the 115 Maine towns and cities that sent their waste to the plant said Monday that it has reached an agreement with Bangor Natural Gas to resume gas service to the facility off Hampden’s Coldbrook Road.
The announcement from the Municipal Review Committee came in a filing with the Maine Public Utilities Commission. The Municipal Review Committee had sought to have the commission force Bangor Natural Gas to establish an account in the committee’s name so it could resume service at the facility.
Bangor Natural Gas stopped service to the facility as it sued its owner, Coastal Resources of Maine, due to unpaid bills and breach of agreement. That lawsuit, filed on Aug. 24, seeks more than $173,000 for past gas service and more than $300,000 for an anticipated breach of contract by Coastal Resources regarding minimum volume payments.
The Municipal Review Committee filed its petition with the Public Utilities Commission on Nov. 17, more than two weeks after it requested a new account with the gas company to maintain gas service to the defunct plant for winter heating and to keep the facility in a condition that would allow for a sale. The Municipal Review Committee owns the land on which the plant sits.
The committee warned that a lack of heat could lead to frozen pipes and put the plant’s anaerobic digester tanks that hold more than 550,000 gallons of sludge at risk. Environmental damage was possible, the group said.
“If pipes freeze, there will be both a mechanical and environmental issue so significant that the plant will be rendered useless,” Michael Carroll, the Municipal Review Committee’s executive director, said in a Nov. 1 email to Bangor Natural Gas asking that the company establish an account in the committee’s name.
In response to the committee’s request before the Public Utilities Commission, Bangor Natural Gas said that court orders had eliminated its obligation to provide gas to the facility. It also called the committee’s claims about potential environmental damage “scare tactics” and “red herrings.”
But the parties reached an agreement to resume service on Friday, according to the Municipal Review Committee’s Monday filing with the Public Utilities Commission. That filing doesn’t detail the terms of the agreement.