Media Archive

DEP tells county to take care of Orneville transfer station

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 164, No. 49, December 04, 2002

By Jessica Lee
Staff Writer

ORNEVILLE Operation at the Omeville Transfer Station is not in compliance with state law.

The Piscataquis County Commissioners on Tuesday reviewed a Nov. 22 letter from Karen Knuuti, an environmental specialist with the state Department of Environmental Protection's Bangor office, outlining several concerns with the operation at the transfer station.

According to the letter, the facility "is not in substantial compliance, due to operation," and there are concerns that continued operation could pose an environmental hazard.

The county has oversight of the transfer station, as it is located in an unorganized territory.

'This is being looked into and we will be taking action to address the problem," Commissioner Eben Dewitt said.

'They have a ways to go to be in compliance," Knuuti said Tuesday, of the county.

She said her concerns center around the bum pile, which has accumulated beyond the six inches allowable under state law. The accumulation of ash at the transfer station, Knuuti said, is regulated by the state, because ash itself can be toxic. She said ash has metals in it that could contaminate the groundwater.

"I'd encourage the county to manage it regularly," Knuuti said, of the ash pile.

She also said that she witnessed items in the bum pile during her inspection of the site that are not supposed to be burned, such as pressure-treated wood, waste oil, vinyl siding, paint cans and metal cans, any of which, once burned, releases toxins into the air.

Knuuti also has concerns with access to the transfer station. "It looks like people are driving four-wheelers around the gate after hours," she said.

The county needs to make sure that the transfer station is only accessible when an attendant is around, she said.

She said minor issues with the transfer station include litter blowing from the site and into the woods behind the dumpsters, and a buildup of "leftover bits and pieces" in the metals and the demolition debris area.

Knuuti also pointed out that the transfer station last year, according to the annual report, accepted 25 gallons of waste oil, despite not being licensed to do so.

Also, the county needs to make sure there is annual verification that there is two feet of till soil between the waste and the seasonal high water table at both the Orneville and the Lily Bay transfer stations.

"I'd like to see them in compliance as soon as possible," said Knuuti.

DEP will take enforcement action, if necessary, she added.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.