The Penobscot Energy Recovery Company in Orrington. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

The planned auction of a waste incinerator in Orrington has been delayed by a month.

The foreclosure auction was initially set for Wednesday, but has been moved to Aug. 9, according to sale facilitator Keenan Auction Co. Inc. of Portland.

The Penobscot Energy Recovery Co., or PERC, is a 40-acre facility near the Penobscot River that once processed trash from 44 communities and commercial waste haulers. The trash was burned to produce electricity, and the company had sought a contract to sell power back to the grid that fell through in 2019.

The Orrington facility has not been operating at all since May 2 but still is receiving trash from Orrington residents that is being stored in hopes that operations can resume after the auction.

The Orrington plant is one of just three trash-to-energy facilities in the state. The other two are smaller and located in Auburn and South Portland.

The facility started falling behind on its bills in 2019, after losing business due to a newly opened Hampden trash plant. The Coastal Resources of Maine plant in Hampden operated for just a year, before closing in June 2020 due to financial hardship. Now its owner must find $20 million to restart the shuttered trash plant, or it will be forced to liquidate the facility before the end of the year.

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.