Sunday, December 18, 2016

Landfill update @ Dec. 19 Town Council Meeting

The town's environmental consultants, Drumlin LLC, will be giving a public presentation of their updated report on the Pine Tree Landfill at the Hampden Town Council meeting, Monday December 19th. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.  
This is an update of their March 15, 2014 report, which stated despite "improving groundwater quality [a downward trend] in certain areas of the landfill..." according to the water quality table on page 4: out of 22 test wells, 10 show no trend or show an upward trend of contaminants: 7 no trend; 3 up; 12 down. 
Page 6: "concentration of arsenic exhibited a 3-year increasing trend in 9 of 12 on-site locations where arsenic is analyzed."
In the updated report of November 21, 2016, they again state:
“Based on the water quality data collected at the site, these corrective actions appear to be improving the groundwater quality in certain areas around the landfill.”  
While this may be true in some wells, according to the water quality table on p.4 on the new report, out of 22 landfill test wells, 14 show no trend or show an upward trend of contaminants: 8 no trend; 6 up; 8 down. Of the 8 wells where the trend is down, 6 only sometimes meet  Groundwater Quality criteria [based on the only figures they give: on conductivity]the other two wells where trends are down show ranges far above Groundwater Quality criteria, of the two Residential wells where data is given, one does not meet Water Quality standards; the other sometimes meets those standards, sometimes tests well above water quality standards. 
On page 5:
Groundwater exceeds several MCL and/or MEG values for arsenic and sodium at off-site monitoring location DW-103..... However, at MW-916 arsenic exceeded the MCL or MEG value in all 2014 and the July and October 2015 sampling events. At MW-917, arsenic exceeded the MCL or MEG at 7 of 7 events. Secondary drinking water criteria of iron and manganese are also exceeded at MW-916 and MW-917.  
On page 6:
There are also several locations noted in Table 1 where the rising trends have been observed. A review of data at these locations is discussed below. 
MW03-802B, -803A, -803B: These monitoring wells are along the south side of the landfill and have generally shown elevated and increasing concentrations of specific conductivity and other parameters since the wells were installed in 2003. During 2012, PTL began operation of 2 gas extraction wells PTGW08-12 and -13 in the vicinity of the 802 and 803 wells. In response to the gas extraction, the methane concentrations in these wells have decreased, particularly in 2015, when an effort was made to extract landfill gas on a more consistent basis (see Section II). However the decrease in methane concentration in these wells has not resulted in a significant decrease in specific conductance, suggesting the potential for leachate migration in this area that is influencing the rising trend in these wells.  
Question: Could leachate migration be caused by recirculating lechate to maximize methane production? If so, would it not make sense to discontinue recirculating lechate into the landfill? 
Discussion of Arsenic in Groundwater.
The 2014 Annual Report identified that the concentration of arsenic exhibited a 3-year increasing trend in 9 of the 12 on-site locations where arsenic is analyzed. The increase was attributed to a combination of factors related to closure (e.g., completing the cover, decreasing recharge to the waste mass, etc.). During 2015, arsenic concentrations continued to increase in 4 wells, decreased in 2 wells and the rest of the wells remained in the same (elevated) range as was measured in 2014.  
The report does conclude that: 
the 2014 and 2015 data from off-site residential wells do not appear to indicate that the landfill is causing elevated arsenic concentrations off-site. 

Water Quality Monitoring - 2016 to 2020.
PTL requested that they do less testing of their monitoring wells starting in 2016. It appears that DEP has accepted their request! 
In March 2016, Sevee & Maher Engineers (SME) on behalf of PTL sent an e-mail to the MDEP with suggested changes to the on-going Environmental Monitoring Plan (EMP) for 2016 to 2020. The MDEP provided comments and the 2015 Annual Report included proposed changes to the Environmental Monitoring Plan. Table 1 above includes a comparison of the sampling regime from 2011 to 2015 versus 2016 to 2020. The primary changes are as follows.
Reducing the sampling from 3 times per year (spring summer and fall) to 2 times per year (spring and fall). 
Reducing the sampling of dissolved methane to one time per year in monitoring wells; 
Eliminating off-site well DW-111 (which has not been accessible during 2014 and 2015 sampling events) unless this well has not been sealed and would not be reused in the future. 
Reducing the number of locations where leachate quality is sampled regularly from 7 to 2 (i.e., PDPS and LCS-3C, which have the largest flows). The remaining leachate flow locations will be each be sampled once during the 5 year period. 

1. Were Hampden's landfill consultants consulted about the plan to do less testing 
 2. Was the Town of Hampden: Mayor/Town Council consulted? 
3. In light of upward trends of contaminants over the last three years, (2014-2016), does it make sense to reduce the number of tests conducted to ascertian whether PTL's remediation plan is performing as needed?
Also of note: 
Prior to 2010, methane concentrations in MW-916 and MW-917 exceeded 5,000 ug/L (p. 5)
State/Federal standards: Dissolved Methane must be below 700 ug/L
Concentrations have been reduced since the closing of the landfill.
1) was much of that methane prior to 2010 escaping into the surrounding air and neighborhoods?
2) what was the health risk to people living in the neighborhood of the landfill being exposed to, breathing in high levels of methane?
The report concludes:
There are several on-site locations that are close to or meet the corrective action criteria, compared to 2013 when no locations met these criteria.** However, groundwater in several wells south and southwest of the landfill has exhibited increasing concentration trends. Operation of the corrective action systems (groundwater extraction and external gas extraction) should be continued to maintain the improvement and PTL should be encouraged to look for opportunities to improve and enhance the correction action systems to accelerate the rate of improvement in the future. 
**But data from 2014-2016, based on DEP data, shows trends where contaminates are either increasing or show no change.(my footnote).
Question: Should not DEP require PTL to take more aggressive corrective action, given that test results indicate contamination trends are increasing or not being reduced in the many of the landfill areas being tested?
If you have any questions or concerns about the report,  this Monday is an opportunity to ask questions to the town's environmental consultants at the town council meeting.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Public Hearing Wednesday @ 7:00

The Hampden Planning Board will hold a Public Hearing this Wednesday at  7:00 pm on the Fiberight facility.

In previous discussions with Greg Lounder of the MRC,  I had been assured that air emissions would be insignificant.  However, according to comments made by Keith Bowden, an engineer who lives in Orrington, in Fiberight's current application, according to the data submitted, the project will exceed the 100 TYP limit for Carbon Monoxide emissions, thereby making it a Major, rather than minor source of air emissions, and in need of further DEP review.  He also makes estimates based on their application that mercury emissions will exceed the allowable 25 pound limit per year limit; he estimates mercury emissions  from 33.9 pounds a year to as high as 67.8 pounds a year, and  that, among others emissions, Hydrogen Chloride emissions will exceed the allowable limit of 10 TPY.

Bowden's highly technical comments , submitted March 23, 2016, are on the DEP website under comments on the Fiberight application. Fiberight and DEP have yet to respond.  Here's the link:

Residents in proximity to the Fiberight project had been told that the Fiberight project would have an insignificant impact on air quality.  I think the Planning Board should give full consideration to the evidence that the plant may exceed regulatory limits of Carbon Monoxide, Mercury and Hydrogen Chloride  and should wait for a detailed response by Fiberight and by the Maine DEP that addresses all the technical issues raised Mr. Bowden's comments before giving approval of the project.  If you share those concerns, or have other  concerns, come to the public hearing this Wednesday night at 7:00 pm.

Town of Hampden

Planning Board

Wednesday April 13, 2016

Municipal Building Council Chambers

7:00 pm





1.Approval of Minutes (March 16, 2016)

2.Old Business

3.New Business

A.  Fiberight LLC/MRC: Solid Waste Recycling and Processing Facility

The Municipal Review Committee/Fiberight LLC, has proposed to construct a 144,000 square foot Solid Waste Processing Facilitwith an attached 9,800 square foot administration building accessed by a 4,600 newly constructed commercial road.  The road and facility are proposed to be located East of the Coldbrook Road on Map 9, Lot 35-39 and Map 14, Lot 7. 

Public Hearing

4.Community Development Directors Report

A.  Letter from MDOT Highway Safety Improvements

5.Planning Board Concerns


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Public Meeting on Proposed Municipal Solid Waste Processing and Recycling Facility, Hampden

Public Meeting on Proposed Municipal Solid Waste Processing and Recycling Facility, Hampden

The Department of Environmental Protection (Department) will conduct a Public Meeting on November 19, 2015 from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM at the Hampden Town Office Community Room, pursuant to Title 38 §345-A(5). The purpose of the meeting is to provide an overview and the opportunity to comment on the joint applications filed with the Department by the Municipal Review Committee, Inc. (MRC) of 395 State Street, Ellsworth, Maine 04605, (207) 664-1700 and Fiberight, LLC (Fiberight), 1450 South Rolling Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21227, (410) 340-9387. 

The applications are for a proposed municipal solid waste (MSW) processing and recycling facility (Facility) to be located in Hampden, Maine. The proposed Facility will be located on a 90 acre parcel of land approximately one mile to the northeast of the Coldbrook Road and 1/4 mile to the southeast of 1-95. The parcel will be owned by MRC and the Facility and infrastructure will be owned and operated by Fiberight. To access the Facility site, a 4,620-foot access roadway with utilities located opposite Bryer Lane intersecting Coldbrook Road will be owned and constructed by MRC as part of this project. 

The applications and supporting documentation are available for review at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection's website or through the Office of the Commissioner by calling (207) 287-7881. A copy of the applications and supporting documentation may also be seen at the municipal office in Hampden, Maine.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Questions about Fiberight must be submitted by 5pm May 13

The MRC is holding a town meeting in Hampden on May 19th for Q&A  on technical questions of Fiberight proposal.  The catch is questions must be submitted by May 13th, today, to Greg Lounder  of the MRC, by 5 pm, this evening.   If you would like to send any technical questions, email to:   (Greg Lounder, MRC Executive Director) 

If you go to: 
there are links to a University of Maine study of the proposed facility to be developed by Fiberight.   From the MRC home page,  look for 
Our Proposed Hampden Facility           then:   click here to find additional information  

Then click on: Technology Review Fiberight Process for MRC   and    Appendix  (which has a useful technical evaluation of the project)

If you don't have time to write any questions, there's still an opportunity to hear Fiberight try to answer those questions on Tuesday, May 19th at 7 pm at the  Community Room at the Hampden Town Hall. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Announcement of public meeting and update from the HCC

The MRC is holding a Public Information Meeting, Monday, April 27th at 7:00 pm at the Municipal Building Community Room behind the Hampden Town Hall on a municipal solid waste (MSW) Waste Processing facility proposed to be located in Hampden

From Bill Lippincott:

If you go to: there are links to a University of Maine study of the proposed facility to be developed by Fiberight.  Click on: Technology Review Fiberight Process for MRC

In theory this looks to be a superior technology, environmentally and in terms of cost and efficiency,  to the current process used at the PERC plant in Orrington.  The MRC website details problems with continuing with PERC after 2018. But Fiberight appears to be having some trouble with financing - Cate Street Capitol, which recently let the East Millinocket Mill go bankrupt-see article in Wednesday's BDN- is mentioned as a key investor on page 5 of Appendix C.  And they've yet to break ground on their first actual full size plant.   The technology is unproven on the scale they propose, and it's questionable as to whether they will have an up and running plant in Hampden, if that were approved, by 2018.

I would encourage you to particularly look at the appendices section and scroll down to Appendix E:  Site Infrastructure and Permitting Considerations  by James Atwell, P. E. of Sevee & Maher Engineers, December 2014  (there's a link to the Appendices right next to the UM study)   as there seems to be a number of unknown details to be resolved.  I've just quoted the opening and one other paragraph:

"The available information on the Fiberight facility to be built in Maine is very limited.  We do not have a detailed process flow diagram or a materials balance that is necessary to estimate the air, solid waste and wastewater emissions from the proposed facility.  Therefore, it is not possible to reach definitive conclusions regarding the specific permitting requirements that might be necessary for a full scale Fiberight facility to serve the MRC communities."
 By-Products/Wastes. Information provided by Fiberight seems to indicate that the process is self contained and that there are no by-products that must be managed. However, without detailed process flow diagrams and a mass balance, it is not possible to confirm these claims.  Based on past experience with similar processes, there are several points in the Fiberight technology where byproducts, or waste materials, are expected to be produced that would require treatment and or management. For example:
• Liquids from the unit processes, as well as liquids/wastewater from general washdowns will require treatment.  Even though Fiberight indicates that wastewater emissions would be low, or non-existent, our experience is that impurities build up in the system over time and these impurities must be purged from the system.  This liquid waste would require some form of treatment, and would have to be considered in the permitting process."

I think this plant is potentially an improved way to deal with waste, but deserves full scrutiny and questioning from the public.

There will be another opportunity to make comments about the project two days later:

MRC Board of Directors Presentation/Public Comment
Wednesday, April 29th at 10:00 am
Municipal Building Council Chambers
106 Western Avenue, Hampden

Tuesday, April 14, 2015
At the Town Council meeting on December 15, 2014, the Municipal Review Committee (a non-profit organization representing 187 Maine cities and towns) revealed that it is considering developing a municipal solid waste (MSW) recycling and processing facility in Hampden using cutting-edge, environmentally-friendly technology.  Two opportunities to learn more about the project will be held in Hampden in April:
Public Information MeetingMonday, April 27th at 7:00 pm
Municipal Building Community Room
106 Western Avenue, Hampden
MRC Board of Directors Presentation/Public Comment
Wednesday, April 29th at 10:00 am
Municipal Building Council Chambers
106 Western Avenue, Hampden

Sunday, March 1, 2015

MRC responses to questions from Bill Lippincott and Norm Thurlow

From Bill Lippincott:

Norm Thurlow and I met with Greg Lounder, Executive Director of the Municipal Review Committee a few weeks ago with a number of questions about the proposed Fiberight Waste Processing Facility proposed to be located in Hampden.

Greg sent me a copy of our questions, with his answers, which can be found below (Greg's answers are in bold text). It begins with my questions, followed by Norm's, and there is some overlap where we ask similar questions.Greg said at the time that there were some questions he would not have answers for immediately, so we'll need to follow through on some of these.

1.) What will the odor impact be of 100+ trucks a day hauling trash from various
communities, coming & going to the waste sorting facility? Impact of truck odor + impact of doors opening from facility and inside odors escaping.
Odor will be carefully controlled inside the facility. The tip hall will be managed with negative pressure to contain odor inside. We expect far less than 100 trucks per day and most will enter the access road just a short distance from I-95. Moreover, the new facility will be designed to process MSW as it is accepted without the need to maintain inventories in the tip hall, which will reduce substantially the potential for fugitive odors as compared to the PERC facility.

2.) Will trucks be coming & going 24 hours a day? What are the hours the facility will be
open to truck traffic?
No. The final hours of operation are not settled, but hours along the line of 6 am to 6 pm, five and one-half days per week, are more likely.

3.) Will there be fully loaded tractor trailer trucks as well as dump trucks?

4.) What are the predicted emissions from the plant from escaped methane. Will there be
other gases created by the process that might also escape?
The MSW itself will be managed aerobically until it is sterilized at the wash/pulp stage of the process. No fugitive methane would be generated from MSW at this stage of the process.
Methane will be created under controlled conditions inside the anaerobic digestion tank. All tanks, piping and flow devices will incorporate appropriate pressure monitoring and methane detection devices, sensors and controls to minimize potential leaks and to enable rapid response as needed. Note that bio-gas containing methane is a valuable product and that Fiberight will have every incentive to avoid leaks.

5.) What are the predicted emissions from the plant in volume & content as far as toxins if
Fiberight decides to burn or gasify unhydrolyzed biomass at the plant?
Although the final design is not complete, at this point Fiberight is proposing to gasify post- hydrolysis solids in a gasifier similar to one currently operating at a textile mill in New Hampshire. That mill has very low emissions – and, in fact, that mill uses the gasifier as a pollution control device to destroy VOCs at very high levels of effectiveness. Additional information will be available when permit applications are completed and submitted to the Maine DEP.
Fiberight will NOT accept biomass fuel derived from construction and demolition debris.

6.) How will Fiberight deal with contaminated leachate, with concentrated heavy metals,
VOCS, and other toxins which will need to be dealt with.
Incoming MSW will be managed in an enclosed area with no exposure to precipitation or groundwater. Leachate will not be generated. We expect very low quantities of wastewater, which composition would qualify for treatment at the Bangor wastewater treatment facility.

7.) How proven is this technology? It appears to be untested on the scale they propose. The video states that the process removes contamination from biomass – How? (other than by pasteurizing it, which won't remove heavy metals, etc)
This technology is a young “up and coming” approach to comprehensively managing MSW. Representatives of the MRC and of an independent group from the University of Maine, Orono, have visited the Fiberight facility in Lawrenceville, Virginia, and have observed operations there. The Iowa project is scheduled to break ground in April; the Virginia facility is in the process of being expanded. We expect both the Iowa and Virginia projects to be operating at scale before construction starts in Maine. Our due diligence process is ongoing.
The AD equipment will include media beds from which salts and other contaminants will be removed on a regular basis.

8.) The facility location appears to be some distance from residential housing, but depending
on the way travel could odor and gases affect the Main Trail neighborhood, and neighborhoods on or near the Coldbrook Road, and possibly other areas of town.
Given our visits to the Fiberight facility in Lawrenceville, Virginia, and to several other facilities in North America with similar front end processes and our due diligence on the Fiberight approach, we do not expect fugitive odors or gasses to be an issue.

9.) What is the approximate distance between the plant and the Main Trail neighborhood?
I’ll have a map available. The precise location of the facility is not determined, but my best estimate is at least 3,500 feet of forested land.

10.) This proposal promises further recycling while retaining current zero sort
programs. What if towns' recycling efforts are so good that this plant doesn't have enough material to run economically/efficiently - will MRC demand a minimum amount of material for towns to supply?
This project is being designed to focus on high-value products made from organic materials in MSW that are not being diverted, with a secondary benefit of capturing recyclables that remain in the waste stream after efforts are exhausted at the local level. Lower levels of recyclables at the plant level will not disrupt the economics of the project.

11.) Will towns get penalized as they do now for not generating enough trash? Could
you show us where this is spelled out in the MRC/Fiberight proposal?
We are working hard to insulate the towns from exposure to delivery shortfalls balanced with the need to secure financing. The MRC can play a key role in insulating individual towns from risk in this project, as it has in the past with the PERC project. The final mechanism is under negotiation. Note though that a key attraction from our perspective of the Fiberight process is the ability to run on a much smaller scale and have a much greater degree of operational flexibility than our current system. These factors will help with the “GAT issue” a great deal.

12.) PERC says it can continue: their loans are all paid off so they have no major
debts: they say they can downscale, take less out of state waste, lower tipping fees, not penalize if towns recycle more, supply less.
What else would anyone expect someone in their position to say? If these statements could be relied upon, then one would not expect the company to seek out new subsidies from the Maine taxpayers and/or ratepayers. As an example, PERC’s actual debt service costs in 2014 were less than $6 per ton of MSW processed, in part because interest rates are low and PERC refinanced and reduced debt several times over the years – so being debt-free makes hardly any difference in their ability to reduce costs.
MRC will be monitoring these issues in the coming months. MRC has had full access to PERC’s books since 1990 and has been fully involved in PERC’s the management of PERC’s business since 1998 as a part owner of the facility. MRC preferred approach to post 2018 was to extend the project. After several years of hard work on the economics of the extension, and conclude that extension is simply not economically feasible, we began to evaluate the best alternative means to solve this problem for the member communities.

13.) Why do towns need MRC when they can contract directly with PERC?
The towns formed the MRC following PERC’s announcement, 18 months after opening the doors in 1988, that they would file bankruptcy and close. MRC has looked after the public interest on their behalf ever since, and has insulated the towns from taking direct risks and liabilities of GAT penalties and on many issues. A regional group such as the MRC can take advantage of professional advice that no single town could afford or manage, and can create negotiating leverage that comes with size and scale. For these and other reasons, the membership has doubled since the early days. The increase in membership primarily came from towns that had a direct contract with PERC when they started. The only members that left MRC did so when we restructured the contracts in 1998, when they made the decision to leave for a landfill facility close by in New Brunswick. In the end, a town itself would need to answer your question.

14.) Why would MRC abandon a $25 million investment it made in PERC?
MRC would not recommend the abandonment of an investment that made sense to keep. The MRC made a $12,000,000 investment in PERC on behalf of the towns through a series of payments made between 1999 and 2006, all of which represented re-investment of value derived from the municipal share of PERC’s operating gains. Those investment objectives have been met and they did not rely upon value derived from extending the PERC relationship beyond 2018.

15.) Given the fact that Fiberight appears to be having some trouble with financing, and
they've yet to break ground on their first actual full size plant, and the technology is unproven on the scale they propose, how certain is it that they will have an up and running plant in Hampden, if that were approved, by 2018?
We are not aware that Fiberight is having issues with financing. We are keenly aware that there are many reasons/uncertainties that can slow or delay start dates for project development and we are working hard to address the issues and bring a solution to fruition.

16.) If PERC is gone and Fiberight is not up and running, where will the MSW from all the
towns that belong to the MRC go? Juniper Ridge? Where else can it go?
If there is no processing available for our region, landfilling is the only legal alternative that we are aware of in the region. Some MSW might be exported to facilities outside the region. The MRC is monitoring the fallback alternatives for MSW disposal in the event of unforeseen delays or outcomes.

[Some questions/comments from Norm Thurlow: some of these duplicate my questions]

17.) Why the Hampden location and not one near the Juniper landfill? I noticed that a
privately run plant to produce methane from the landfill is to be located at the landfill so I have to wonder why the Fiberight plant could not be there as well.
We explored the possibility of location at the Juniper Ridge Landfill but the ownership and operating framework established by the state wasn’t broad enough to allow it. In any case, the Hampden site has far better attributes from a utilities and infrastructure standpoint.

18.) It also would seem prudent to have an alternative disposal plan available if the Fiberight
plant fails to meet expectations. I think it would be wise to arrange some program with PERC that allows them to function at some capacity until it is clear that the process Fiberight is using can handle the full load.
We are working on contingent arrangements to serve as an “interim disposal bridge” We are also monitoring the fallback alternatives for MSW disposal in the event of unforeseen delays or outcomes.

19.) What is the back-up plan if the process fails to meet the need?
We are working on contingent arrangements to serve as an “interim disposal bridge”

20.) Are there host community benefits?
In addition to full taxable value, Yes.

21.) Can we eliminate recycling at the towns and let the plant do it?
I suppose way down the road this could occur depending on local preference, especially with any inefficient systems in small towns that become known, but we foresee that local recycling will continue and the new system will compliment local recycling.

22.) Will the company dispose of hazardous materials for the member towns?
There will no handling of hazardous waste at the facility

23.) There is a need to dispose of batteries, plastic bags, aerosol cans and other low level
hazardous material; will the company solve this for the towns?
There will no handling of hazardous waste at the facility. The MRC will encourage towns to collect and manage household hazardous wastes locally. The Fiberight facility will separate batteries and other items that are commingled in small concentrations with household waste.

24.) Will towns be required to supply a certain amount of trash and garbage and be penalized
if they don’t?
We are working hard to insulate the towns from exposure to delivery shortfalls balanced with the need to secure financing. The final mechanism is under negotiation, but will likely involve the MRC as an explicit intermediary to insulate individual towns from risk and liability building on lessons learned from the PERC contractual arrangements. Note though that a key attraction from our perspective of the Fiberight process is the ability to run on a much smaller scale and have a much greater degree of operational flexibility than our current system. These factors will help with the “GAT issue” a great deal.

25.) Is there a minimum waste stream necessary for the plant to be profitable and can the
MRC members supply it?
Yes. MRC will work on commitments for waste supply of 150,000 tons. This is less than one half of our current facility needs. Given our understanding of project economics, we believe MRC members will take action needed to supply it.

26.) Will Hampden be required to provide fire and hazardous material mitigation beyond our
current capabilities?
We will work with the town closely on this issue. Should additional local capacity be deemed prudent in the name of public health and safety, the parties will deal with that in an equitable manner.

27.) Will demolition debris be included in the waste stream?
No. The Fiberight facility will not accept construction or demolition debris waste.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

MRC Meeting on Fiberight Plant

Bill Lippincott's Summary of the MRC Meeting regarding the proposed Fiberight waste facility:

I went to the MRC meeting in Orono yesterday reported in Thursday's BDN.    William Shakespeare was also there.  Fiberight's presentation and the University of Maine's analysis were impressive.  But we both had some questions.  William Shakespeare asked about odors. Craig Stuart-Paul, the CEO of Fiberight said the only possible odors would be at the front end, where trash trucks were unloading but they would have a system to capture and contain the odor to within the plant.
I asked about air emissions; I had been told there would be no air emissions from the Fiberight plant. The biofuel that is the result of their anaerobic digester process is methane.  Hemant Pendse from University of Maine  mentioned the possibility of some methane gas escaping from the plant, if all is not collected by their systems in the plant.

Fiberight may also decide to burn or gasify unhydrolyzed biomass, a byproduct of their process, as fuel at the plant, in which case I presume there would be smokestacks.  Pendse said that the biomass, having been pasteurized and processed, would be unlike other material burned at other plants in terms of toxicity or smell.
Pendse said the plant was considering taking pulp paper sludge, as well as MSW, for the anaerobic digester, and that was a suitable material for that process.
I asked what would happen if the state aggressively collected food waste from large scale producers, restaurants, cafeterias, supermarkets, etc, diverting it from MSW.  If so, would their plant still be viable?

Pendse said that even if the state succeeds in collecting food waste from large scale producers , it's likely a lot of household food waste will still get into MSW. The explanation I heard this morning on the live stream from the Natural Resources Committee was that because Maine is a mostly rural state – most houses have septic systems rather than feeding into sewer systems - more food is going into garbage bags, instead of garbage disposals.  It strikes me that more aggressive programs by the state for people to compost in their backyards would be suitable for Maine's rural areas. Stuart-Paul said Fiberight could also take the separated food waste from large producers- they would compete in that market,  and could put it into their anaerobic digesters and create fuel.
Pendse and Stuart-Paul sounded quite confident about the whole process and the MRC is going forward but there are still many unknowns.  Residents from Main Trail, located approximately 2000 yards south of the proposed facility are very concerned about odors, truck traffic, property values and what this plant represents for Hampden as a place to live and do business in, and have been meeting to discuss what to do.

We will continue to investigate.