A Casella Waste Systems truck empties waste at the Graham Road Landfill in Brunswick on Wednesday, March 31. C. Thacher Carter / The Times Record

As of April 1 Brunswick’s Graham Road Landfill is permanently closed.

While curbside collection will continue as normal, general trash and recycling will no longer be deposited at the site.

The landfill was built in 1984 and sends wastewater through a series of lagoons that contain microbes, which eat away at the dissolved organic matter.

However, the site is not equipped to deal with modern-day environmental regulations, and last year, The Times Record reported that the facility had been in “technical violation” of permitted landfill ammonia discharge levels since at least 2011.

According to Public Works Director Jay Astle, there was an additional and subsequent water quality issue, which ultimately forced the town to work with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

After exploring other options, which were deemed too costly, in 2016 the town entered into an agreement with the Department of Environment Protection to pursue a five-year plan to close the site.

Butch Arbour, the Graham Hill Landfill’s scale attendant, works on the last day of operation at Brunswick’s landfill March 31. C. Thacher Carter / The Times Record

Additionally, in 2020, Brunswick officials agreed to pay $10,000 in fines to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection as a result of the wastewater discharge violations.

The town awarded the Alton-based Sargent Corporation and Portland’s Woodard and Curran the closure project, at a total cost of about $6.85 million. $5.9 million will go to the Sargent Corporation, which is charged with bringing in materials to cover and then secure the landfill.

The remaining $950,000 will go to Woodward and Curran, who will be responsible for daily inspection as well as some technical and quality assurance work for the installation of the geomembrane.

The processing facility at the Graham Road site will continue to operate and will re-open on April 9. In February, Brunswick officials authorized up to $250,000 from Solid Waste impact fees for improvements at the facility.

According to the town’s website, the processing facility will be open on Friday and Saturday between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. and continue to accept materials such as scrap metal, leaves and grass, appliances, electronic waste and tires. The processing facility will no longer accept asphalt shingles, used motor oil and concrete/masonry.

Going forward, the town council will vote on Monday, April 5, on whether to join a 10-year contract with ecomaine that would begin in July, according to Town Manager John Eldridge.

For now, the town will continue to partner with Casella Waste Systems for collection, transport and disposal and trash will be brought to either an alternate landfill or to a waste-to-energy facility.

If the town does decide to partner with ecomaine, Casella would continue to collect and transport the town’s trash and recycling, but would instead bring it to ecomaine’s facilities in Portland.

A contract with both ecomaine for disposal and Casella for collection and transportation is estimated to cost around $1.29 million annually.

Seagulls flying around the Graham Road Landfill on March 31. C. Thacher Carter / The Times Record

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