The delay in the waste restrictions is supposed to give Maine time to find other options for sludge disposal other than at Juniper Ridge.
In this Jan. 19, 2022, file photo, trash is compacted at Juniper Ridge Landfill in Alton. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

State environmental officials support a two-year suspension of new restrictions on out-of-state waste.

Maine’s wastewater treatment plants faced a near-crisis earlier this year after the company that operates the state-owned Juniper Ridge Landfill reduced the amount of sludge it accepted. Casella Waste Systems blamed a new state law that limited its access to oversized, bulky waste that Casella uses to mix with the liquid sludge to stabilize the landfill.

Environmental Commissioner Melanie Loyzim said the Maine Department of Environmental Protection supports a bill temporarily lifting those restrictions on bulkier waste from other states.

“Postponing the requirements of chapter 626 keeps the pressure on these goals while providing short-term flexibility to meet an immediate need: to safely treat Maine’s wastewater,” Loyzim said during a Monday hearing.

Loyzim told lawmakers on Monday that a two-year delay will give the department more time to explore longer-term options for disposing of sludge other than in Juniper Ridge landfill.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.