The secondary clarifier at the City of Bangor Wastewater Treatment Plant on Main Street. Credit: Limda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to

The sludge management crisis that arose in February, which I think was caused by the Maine Legislature when it enacted a bill that reduced the amount of bulky material available to stabilize sludge when landfilled, on the heels of a bill that stopped the spreading of biosolids and forcing more of it into the landfill, has justifiably received a lot of coverage.

I believe some of that coverage has been distorted by a number of activist groups who have jumped in to blame Casella, which operates the state-owned landfill. Their distortion of reality, when left completely unchecked, becomes part of the narrative of our Legislature and media.

For example, calling Casella a “monopoly” seems to be a go-to for these groups and has even been printed as a quote from elected officials. Monopoly has a very clear definition. Shouldn’t a legislator be required to cite the specific criteria Casella meets to be considered one before it is printed as fact?

Casella was selected by the state to operate its landfill and has done so, without fail, for many years. Last I checked, municipalities had open bidding in selecting which company hauls the sludge we all produce and presumably there were competing bids to do this work that Casella won. Not sure where the monopoly comes in. Calling a company a “monopoly” because they have successful bidding strategies and make money in a capitalist economy is lazy at best. Just be honest and say you don’t like capitalism.

We deserve fact-based discussion, not fear-stoking and unfounded finger-pointing.

Chase Empsall