Maine DEP Issues Air Quality Alert for Wednesday, August 29, 2018

August 28, 2018

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director, (207) 287-5842, david.madore@maine.gov or Martha Webster, Meteorologist, (207) 287-8093, martha.e.webster@maine.gov or Tom Downs, Chief Meteorologist, (207) 287-7026, tom.downs@maine.gov

Ground-level ozone concentrations will be climbing in Maine on Wednesday and are expected to reach unhealthy levels along the coast according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). On Tuesday afternoon ozone levels began building in the New York City/ Long Island Sound area. Winds are expected to bring these high levels of ozone to Maine and travel down the coast on Wednesday. In addition, particle pollution levels are expected to be moderate statewide. Furthermore, heat advisories have been issued by the National Weather Service. This combination of heat, humidity and poor air quality will exacerbate the effects of each.

At elevated ozone levels, children, healthy adults who exert themselves, and individuals suffering from a respiratory disease such as asthma, bronchitis or COPD can experience reduced lung function and irritation. When this happens, individuals may notice a shortness of breath, coughing, throat irritation, and/or experience an uncomfortable sensation in their chest.

Some actions you can take to protect your health during periods of unhealthy air quality include:

  • Adjusting your schedule to avoid strenuous outdoor activity during the afternoon.
  • Please consult the Maine CDC website for information on the health impacts of extreme heat and appropriate actions to take (http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/environmental-health/heat/).
  • The Maine CDC Asthma Prevention and Control Program has asthma information available at their web site: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/population-health/mat/index.htm
  • For more information on asthma control visit EPA's Web site www.epa.gov/asthma to find information about asthma triggers and lessons on asthma management.

In addition to those in a sensitive group, sports coaches, elder care workers, nurses and others who are responsible for the welfare of people impacted by poor air quality are urged to use one of the listed tools to follow the Air Quality Forecast:

For more information call the contacts listed above or go to DEP's air quality web site http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/

DEP introduces new environmental education curricula for Maine students

August 29, 2018

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director (207) 287-5842, david.madore@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, August 29, 2018 - The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has recently launched a new Environmental Education webpage on the agency's website. The new program is part of a comprehensive redesign of DEP's website which also features changes to format for easier navigation as well as new and updated information.

DEP has created environmental education curricula for Maine students in middle and high school and was produced to enhance student's education about environmental stewardship and career opportunities in the environmental regulatory field in Maine.

"Our goal is to assist Maine educators with this new resource and as a result, inspire students to learn more about our environment, public policy and possible career opportunities in environmental science," said David Madore, Director of Communication, Education and Outreach at Maine DEP. "We are excited about the new curriculum as well as the opportunity to inspire the next generation of environmental leaders."

The lesson plans featured on the webpage cover fourteen different topics including: Air pollution, Composting, Environmental Regulations and Sustainability. Each lesson is designed to address a given Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS) and includes a classroom slide presentation, lesson plan with student activity.

For more information on the environmental education curriculum, visit DEP's website at: http://www.maine.gov/dep/schools/index.html

Maine DEP is Seeking Nominations for Governor's Environmental Excellence Award

September 4, 2018

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director (207) 287-5842, david.madore@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, September 4, 2018 - The Department of Environmental Protection and Governor Paul R. LePage encourages entities that have gone above and beyond required regulations by implementing innovative practices that have meaningful environmental and economic benefits to apply for the State's environmental excellence award. This is an opportunity for businesses, nonprofits, public entities and the people of Maine to be recognized for their extraordinary work to improve and protect Maine's natural resources.

"Our job creators grow the economy and help steward Maine's natural resources," said Governor LePage. "The Governor's Award on Environmental Excellence recognize leaders who take innovative approaches to protect our natural resources and strengthen our economy. My Administration is proud to support the entities that not only move our economy forward, but also ensure that our natural resources are here for the enjoyment of future generations."

Nominations are now open for the Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence, which will honor entities that go beyond standard techniques or regulatory requirements to creatively meet environmental challenges or opportunities. The award categories include: Innovation, Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship. This year's award criteria and categories have been redesigned to focus on the extraordinary efforts that have resulted in economic savings, as well as protection and improvement of Maine's environment.

"Our natural resources are the State of Maine's greatest asset and I believe the state's economy can improve while maintaining our environment," said Commissioner Mercer. "The Environmental Excellence Award celebrates and encourages those Maine businesses, non-profits and public entities who have successfully balanced both." Award applicants will be asked to explain how their recent project or program was innovative, collaborative and resulted in measurable and meaningful environmental and economic benefits. Completed Application forms are due to the department by Friday, October 5, 2018.

For more information about the Maine Department of Environmental Protection's Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence or to download an application, visit http://www.maine.gov/dep/govaward/index.html

DEP Awards Grants to Support Recycling and Organics Management Initiatives

September 24, 2018

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director, (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, September 24, 2018 - The Maine Department of Environmental Protection recently announced the recipients of grant awards for recycling and organics management projects. These projects are targeted to divert waste from disposal by expanding composting and recycling opportunities across Maine. DEP received 7 proposals requesting over $112,000, and will award over $88,000 to fund 6 of the projects. This is the first-time DEP is providing grants to help businesses, institutions and municipalities address solid waste management challenges.

Maine DEP is pleased to award funds for the following projects across the state:

  • The Town of Falmouth will conduct a pilot project to assess the effect of increasing the convenience of collection drop-off sites on the diversion of food scraps from disposal to composting. With this grant, Falmouth will construct and operate three food scrap collection locations with educational kiosks. Additional community education efforts will be targeted based on monthly collection results from each drop-off location.
  • The University of Maine at Presque Isle will use its grant to establish a year-round composting operation on the UMPI campus. After the pilot year, it is expected that the costs of the operation will be offset by savings from avoided disposal tipping fees and that the operation may be self-sustaining through revenue from compost sales.
  • Bo' Lait Farm in Washington, Maine will establish an on-farm commercial composting facility accessible to the underserved Midcoast area. Bo' Lait will team up with ScrapDogs Community Compost from Camden to offer food scrap composting services to area schools, hospitals, restaurants, and other businesses and households stretching from Camden to Washington. They will also lead an intensive community education effort, visiting schools and providing presentations for area civic organizations.
  • The Central Penobscot Solid Waste Facility will construct a new reuse building at its transfer station to serve its three member towns. Expanding reuse opportunities will provide a second life for many consumer goods, provide community members with the opportunity to obtain everyday goods at no cost, and reduce the amount of materials sent for disposal.
  • The Maine Resource Recovery Association will use its grant to trial the recycling of waste PVC building materials. Through this project, MRRA will determine the practical logistics and economic viability of on-going recycling of this waste stream.
  • Pleasant River Farms in Mason Township will expand its on-site composting operation and organics diversion, transportation and marketing/education services. This will provide a local composting alternative to disposal for food scraps from area schools, hospitals, restaurants, and other businesses in Maine's western mountains area. This will also include education and training to highlight the benefits of food scrap composting, including avoided disposal costs for communities and improved soils for farms and local food gardens.

DEP plans to issue a second round of request for grant proposals in early 2019.

State and Federal agencies provide guidance regarding Marine Mammals in Maine

September 26, 2018

Contact: David Madore, Maine DEP Communications Director, (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov or Jennifer Goebel, NOAA Public Affairs Officer, (978) 281-9175 jennifer.goebel@noaa.gov

AUGUSTA, September 26, 2018 - This year, Maine has seen an unusual number of live and deceased seals wash up on Maine shores. Handling and disposing of these animals is challenging. To address these issues, a multi-agency work group developed guidance for coastal communities, waterfront property owners, and the public in dealing with stranded seals.

First, and most importantly, report any live or dead stranded seals to the Maine Marine Animal Reporting Hotline at 800-532-9551 as soon as possible. Reports are necessary for scientists to document and take samples when possible. Reports will also help researchers determine when the unusual mortality event is over. The work group created two documents to assist coastal communities, waterfront property owners, and the public:

  • Marine Mammal Fact Sheet - A quick reference guide with information on what to do and who to call if you encounter a live or deceased marine mammal on Maine shores.
  • Marine Animal Disposal Guidance - A guidance document for municipalities dealing with mortalities, including information on reporting and disposal.

To report a stranded marine animal call the Maine Marine Animal Reporting Hotline at 800-532-9551. Please remember that marine mammals are protected under federal law, and it is illegal to approach, touch, or move marine mammals without authorization.

The Marine Mammal Fact Sheet and Marine Animal Disposal Guidance document are available on Maine DEP's website at https://www.maine.gov/dep/waste/residuals/index.html

The following agencies involved in the development of this guidance are: Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Marine Resources, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Marine Mammals of Maine (non-profit organization federally authorized to carry out rescue and data collection efforts in southern to mid-coast Maine).

DEP Announces Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards for 2018

November 29, 2018

Contact: David Madore, Maine DEP Communications Director, (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, November 29, 2018 - Governor Paul R. LePage and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence. The awards, which are administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, recognize businesses, public entities and individuals for their extraordinary efforts to protect and improve Maine's environment. "Maine's environment is part of what makes our state special," stated Governor Paul LePage. "We need economic growth that is sustainable and that balances our need for prosperity with our need for a clean environment. The employers highlighted by these awards exemplify how to achieve that balance. I congratulate them for all they do for their clients, their employees, our environment and the state."

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is committed to improving our State's regulatory climate and to creating a stronger culture of cooperation between government, Maine people and businesses. "This year's honorees provide examples of innovation, sustainability and stewardship for Maine businesses, organizations and citizens to emulate. DEP is pleased to recognize them for their efforts in protecting Maine's natural resources," said Maine Acting DEP Commissioner Melanie Loyzim.

The 2018 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence will be awarded to the following:

SUSTAINABILITY AWARD

MoInlycke - Wiscasset

MoInlycke manufactures medical hydrophilic polyurethane foam products at its Wiscasset facility. One of these products is an innovative foam containing silver that is used to make life-saving antimicrobial dressings used for burns and infected wounds. During the manufacturing process, hazardous waste scrap foam (containing silver) and hazardous wastewater (containing residual quantities of silver) are generated. The foam scraps have been sent to a reclamation facility for recycling since 2009. Building on that initiative, MoInlycke started researching alternatives for recycling the silver in their liquid waste and engineered a process that precipitated the majority of silver out of the wastewater, sinking it to the bottom of the tank. Wastewater from the top of the tank is directed through silver recovery units to filter the remaining residual amounts of silver from the wastewater. The silver-containing sludge is removed from the bottom of the tank, and sent to recycling facilities that reclaim the silver for reuse as a precious metal. This project has eliminated the need to ship numerous 55-gallon drums of wastewater offsite as a hazardous waste and can now be safely treated onsite.

STEWARDSHIP AWARD

Maine State Prison - Warren

This past year, the Maine State Prison introduced a large scale sustainable recycling and composting program. Prior to this initiative, all organics and unsorted trash were dumped into a container and hauled to the local transfer station. All the compostable bi-product generated by the 3,200 daily meals prepared at the prison was being wasted. This process neglected to capture valuable organic materials and other recyclable products. Partnering with others, the prison transformed a small scale, struggling effort in composting to the current system which composts 600,000 pounds of organics annually. Simultaneous to the compost and recycling program, is the sustainable agricultural program which produces 12,000 of vegetables from three acres of previously unused land. This produce is utilized in the inmate dining facility and 1,000 pounds have been donated to the area food pantry. In 2018, the Maine State Prison generated 47,000, 35-gallon bags of waste, once sorted by inmates that were educated as to the proper sorting and handling of this material, the result of was a decrease of only 4,700 bags of non-recyclable material. To date, the prison has recycled more than 170,000 pounds of non-organic materials and approximately 80,000 pounds of carboard. The entire program has removed significant amounts of material from the waste stream and saved the State prison $100,000 in waste management annually.

INNOVATION AWARD

Inland Technologies International - South Portland

In 2009, the Portland International Jetport partnered with Inland Technologies International to assist with refining the jetport's environmental management systems, focusing on winter operations and stormwater quality management. Portland International Jetport tasked Inland Technologies with the development of an on-site glycol recycling facility. The objective was to collect effluent down to the 1% glycol contamination level and process it to produce a 50% glycol product. Inland Technologies produced a 50% "raw-grade" material and discharged "clean water" generated in the process to a local wastewater treatment facility. In time, it became clear that there was an opportunity to further refine the raw-grade glycol product into a higher-grade glycol that could be used throughout the region. Inland Technologies developed an industrial process to refine the 50% concentrate to a "virgin-quality" glycol product on-site at the Portland International Jetport. In 2015, a permanent facility was built to refine and produce a high-grade glycol product. The Jetport announced that for the 2017-2018 winter season, Type I ADF was manufactured onsite from 100% reclaimed glycols. The glycol recycling program has delivered positive environmental outcomes and generated reusable glycol products for use by the airlines in the region.

In the coming weeks, Acting DEP Commissioner Melanie Loyzim will be conducting site visits at these establishments to make the award presentations.

Nearly $1.5M awarded for natural resource conservation in Maine

December 14, 2018

Contact: David Madore, Maine DEP Communications Director, (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov; Tim Paul, The Nature Conservancy in Maine (207) 607-4809, timothy.paul@tnc.org; Tim Dugan, New England District Corps of Engineers (978) 318-8264, timothy.j.dugan@usace.army.mil

AUGUSTA, December 14, 2018 - Nine projects to restore, enhance or protect wetlands and other important habitats around the state have been selected to receive funding from the Maine Natural Resource Conservation Program (MNRCP), the Department of Environmental Protection announced today.

The program was created to help offset unavoidable impacts to protected natural resources resulting from development projects by funding the restoration or preservation of similar resources in the same geographic region to maintain overall ecological benefits. In all, more than 100 projects across Maine have been funded since 2009.

"MNRCP has become one of Maine's most meaningful tools used in partnership with conservationists and developers to ensure important environmental protections. It's a win for Maine's natural environment, and it's win for Maine's economy," said Acting Commissioner Melanie Loyzim of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Projects awarded funding in this round include wetland restoration in Aroostook County, restoring and enhancing an important salt marsh in southern Maine, and a stream channel restoration project on the Machias River. In all, $1,469,350 was awarded to restore almost 79 acres of wetlands and help protect over 1,600 acres of high value wetlands, wildlife habitat, and upland buffers.

MNRCP provides regulatory flexibility for applicants by allowing them to make a payment into the program in lieu of traditional compensation methods, provided they have made all efforts to avoid and minimize natural resource impacts. In lieu fees are collected by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and then transferred to the Natural Resource Conservation Fund which is managed by The Nature Conservancy. Public agencies and non-profit conservation organizations apply for funding, through an annual competitive process, to use these funds for restoration and preservation of natural resources in Maine.

"After all efforts have been made to avoid or minimize wetland impacts, this program provides permit applicants an efficient and workable alternative to traditional mitigation, while providing a better outcome for our wetland habitats," said Ruth Ladd, of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District. "The fees are used to restore, enhance, or preserve aquatic resources and their associated uplands. The MNRCP has used these fees to do extraordinary work to protect and improve Maine's aquatic resources. The Corps is very proud of this program."

Proposals were evaluated and ranked by a Review Committee, which was convened by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and made up of public and nonprofit entities. The final funding decisions were made by an approval committee comprised of state and federal agencies.

The Nature Conservancy administers the process and is responsible for seeing that the projects are executed. In this administrative role, the Conservancy does not have a vote on which proposals are approved for funding.

"This collaboration between Maine DEP, The Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Army Corps facilitates a systematic and strategic process for protecting and enhancing our state's highest value wetland habitats," Loyzim said.

"The competitive grant process is set up to fund the best projects possible with the available funds," said Bryan Emerson, mitigation program manager for The Nature Conservancy in Maine. "We are excited this year to have projects from across the entire state and a great mix of restoration and preservation projects."

Recipients of project funding include Friends of Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge, Project SHARE, Damariscotta River Association, Orono Land Trust, Frenchman Bay Conservancy, Blandings Park Wildlife Sanctuary, Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, York Land Trust, and The Trust for Public Land.

For more information about the Maine Natural Resource Conservation program, visit http://mnrcp.org/

DEP seeks grant proposals for recycling and organics management

March 12, 2019

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director, (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, March 12, 2019 - The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is soliciting grant proposals to support the development, implementation or improvement of programs, initiatives or activities designed to increase the diversion of solid waste from disposal.

In 2018, the DEP awarded a total of $89,000 to six grantees for waste diversion projects. These grants are supporting the development of two regional composting facilities, expansions of a municipal reuse program and a municipal composting program, year-round composting at University of Maine - Presque Isle, and a pilot project to establish a system for recycling PVC fencing and siding.

A copy of the RFP, as well as the Question & Answer Summary and all amendments related to this RFP, can be obtained at the following website: https://www.maine.gov/dafs/bbm/procurementservices/vendors/grants

All interested municipalities, regional associations, counties and Maine businesses are encouraged to apply. The DEP will award multiple grants of up to $40,000 ($111,000 total), and prefers proposals that:

  • take advantage of regional economies of scale,
  • increase organics management and recycling infrastructure in underserved areas of the state,
  • promote waste reduction through reuse, repair and sharing economy initiatives,
  • address a statewide need, and/or
  • expand the types of materials managed through composting and recycling.

Application details on the RFP # 201902030 - "Waste Diversion Grants Program" are available on-line at Request for Proposals, Maine DEP. Questions on the RFP must be submitted by April 12th, and proposals must be submitted electronically by 4:00 p.m. April 26th.

DEP Announces Testing of All Sludge Materials Before Land Application

March 22, 2019

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director, DEP (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov; Emily Spencer, Acting Director of Communications, Maine CDC (207) 213-5756 emily.spencer@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, MAINE, March 22, 2019 - The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that it will require the testing of all sludge material licensed for land application in the state for per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS). The Department has set an aggressive schedule for testing which must be concluded before any sludge material can be land applied.

"The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is committed to addressing the issue of PFAS contamination in Maine and has been working to proactively identify areas of potential concern," said Maine DEP Commissioner Jerry Reid. "The Department is moving forward with the additional testing requirement to ensure that any future land applications of sludge are safe."

DEP sent a letter today to producers of sludge materials proposed for land application to inform them of the newly-established test requirement and to direct them to prove that all the sludge is below regulatory levels before it can be applied.

The practice of spreading sludge as a soil amendment has been a common practice in Maine and across the nation for decades. Land application of sludge material occurred long before there was knowledge that it may contain PFAS or the health implications of PFAS.

Earlier this month, Governor Janet Mills signed an Executive Order creating a Governor's Task Force to mobilize state agencies and other stakeholders to review the prevalence of PFAS in Maine and put forward a plan to address it.

Questions regarding health concerns from exposure to PFAS should be directed to Maine CDC at 866-292-3474 (toll-free in Maine). Additional information regarding PFAS can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/pfas/basic-information-pfas

DEP seeks proposals for municipal stream crossing grants

April 9, 2019

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director, DEP (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, April 9, 2019 - The Department of Environmental Protection is inviting proposals for public infrastructure improvement projects on municipal roads involving culvert upgrades of stream crossings to improve public safety, minimize impacts to water quality and improve habitat for fish and wildlife.

Beginning April 9, 2019, eligible recipients may apply for grant monies for improvements to public infrastructure. The deadline for submitting applications is Monday, June 3, 2019. Culverts to be upgraded under this program must be located on a municipal road. Detailed project proposals must address improvements, modifications, repairs or upgrades to existing stream crossing culverts. Eligible project applicants include local governments, municipal conservation commissions, soil and water conservation districts, and private nonprofit organizations.

Eligible recipients must describe how the proposed project meets the following criteria:

  • Improves habitat for wildlife and fish (including sea-run fish and native brook trout), such as through the replacement of a blocked or poorly-sized culvert with appropriately-sized and installed crossings;

  • Improves public safety by reducing the risk of flooding, and/or infrastructure failure (such as washouts);

  • The degree to which the proposed project represents an efficient and cost-effective investment, including the proportion of total project funding that will be provided from other sources and the potential avoided costs associated with the proposed project.

The RFP, Application, Question & Answer Summary, and other information related to this RFP can be obtained at the following website: https://www.maine.gov/dafs/bbm/procurementservices/vendors/grants

For more information, please visit DEP's website at: https://www.maine.gov/dep/land/grants/stream-crossing-upgrade.html

Air Quality Awareness Week April 29 - May 3, 2019

April 23, 2019

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov or Tom Downs, Chief Meteorologist (207) 287-7026 tom.downs@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, April 24, 2019 - Maine joins states across the nation in recognizing April 29 through May 3, 2019 as Air Quality Awareness Week. This year's theme "Check the AQI and Get Outside" was selected to increase air quality awareness and encourage people to check the Air Quality Index (AQI) to find out the best time to be active outdoors.

Maine DEP forecasts Ozone and Particle Pollution year-round and is available on DEP's website, via toll free hotline, EnviroFlash emails and text messages as well as on Twitter. Forecasts are issued using a color-based Air Quality Index created by EPA. Green - good; Yellow - moderate; orange - unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive people and red - unhealthy pollution levels for all.

Both Ozone and Particle Pollution impact the lungs and heart. Ozone is produced in sunlight from pollutants in the air while Particle Pollution consists of direct emissions of pollution in addition to being created by chemical reactions in a polluted air mass. Maine's ozone season runs from late March to September while particle pollution levels are higher mostly during the summer and winter months.

Maine enjoys some of the best air quality in the nation with most air quality issues resulting from polluted air being transported into the state. DEP urges everyone to take steps to reduce emissions that contribute to the formation of ozone:

  • Conserve electricity
  • Choose a cleaner commute by carpooling or using public transportation where available
  • Combine errands, reduce trips
  • Limit idling
  • Refuel vehicles after dusk
  • Use environmentally friendly paints and cleaning products

For more information about Air Quality visit Maine DEP's website at https://www.maine.gov/dep/air/index.html or follow air quality by region on Twitter at:

Acadia-MaineDEP
https://twitter.com/MEair_Acadia

Portland-MaineDEP
https://twitter.com/MEair_Portland

Lewiston-MaineDEP
https://twitter.com/MEair_Lewiston

Bangor-MaineDEP
https://twitter.com/MEair_Bangor

Maine DEP and IFW issue temporary ban on boats to facilitate fight against invasive milfoil on two waterbodies

April 25, 2019

Contact: David Madore, DEP Communications Director (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov or Mark Latti, IFW Communications Director (207) 287-5216 mark.latti@maine.gov

Surface use restrictions on small portions of Annabessacook Lake (Monmouth) and Great Pond including Great Meadow Stream (Belgrade and Rome) enable suppression of variable leaf milfoil and prevent its spread

AUGUSTA, April 25, 2019 - The Maine Departments of Environmental Protection and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife have issued surface use restrictions for a portion of Annabessacook Lake in Monmouth and a portion of Great Pond including Great Meadow Stream in Belgrade and Rome. The objectives of these restrictions are to enable control efforts of variable leaf water-milfoil infestations, to prevent further spread of the plant and to ensure the safety of divers and surface crews engaged in the removal. The restrictions are in place through the end of 2019.

The Annabessacook Lake restriction applies to all watercraft. The restricted area includes the greatest density of the invasive milfoil in Annabessacook Lake, an area where local and regional lake groups will conduct significant removal in 2019.

The Great Pond and Great Meadow Stream restriction applies only to motorized watercraft and is a renewal of the 2018 restriction. Significant removal is also planned in this restricted area during the 2019 open water season.

The decision by the DEP Commissioner Jerry Reid and DIFW Commissioner Judy Camuso to order the restrictions supports the considerable efforts by local lake association volunteers and staff in beating back the invasive aquatic plants.

For more information on the Maine Department of Environmental Protection's Invasive Aquatic Species Program, the order for each restriction with an image indicating the restricted area, steps you can take to prevent plant invasion, and an instructional video on conducting an inspection of your boat, please visit DEPs website at: https://www.maine.gov/dep/water/invasives

Maine DEP joins Northeastern states to urge federal action on PFAS

June 17, 2019

Contact: David Madore, Maine DEP Communications Director, (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, June 17, 2019 - The State of Maine has joined all seven Northeastern states to issue a multi-state letter urging prompt federal action on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination. The letter was issued by the members of the Northeast Committee on the Environment (NECOE) which is comprised of the environmental commissioners from Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and New York.

Maine DEP Commissioner, Jerry Reid has joined his colleagues, Commissioner Dykes of Connecticut DEEP, Commissioner Suuberg of Massachusetts DEP, Commissioner Scott of New Hampshire DES, Director Coit of Rhode Island DEM, Secretary Moore of Vermont ANR, and Commissioner Seggos of New York DEC, in advocating for swift action by the Congressional PFAS Task Force to address PFAS and other emerging contaminants.

The letter was sent to the Co-Chairs of the Congressional PFAS Task Force, Congressman Dan Kildee and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, as well as Chairman John Barrasso and Ranking Member Tom Carper of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

While the Northeast has been at the forefront of this issue due to early detection of PFAS contamination, federal efforts have not provided clear standards and guidance for states to address the overwhelming effects of PFAS on human health and the environment. NECOE commissioners highlight five specific matters that need immediate federal action concerning PFAS:

  • EPA should establish a national maximum contaminant level (MCL)
  • PFAS constitute a class of compounds with common characteristics and should be regulated accordingly
  • require EPA to amend its regulations to treat PFAS compounds as hazardous substances under CERCLA and make available low-cost supplemental loans for regional cleanup efforts
  • urge EPA to expedite the development and dissemination of analytical methods and treatment technologies that extend beyond drinking water
  • urge more aggressive and responsible federal regulation of the use of PFAS compounds and other emerging contaminants

Copies of the Task Force letter and Senate EPW letter can be found on Maine DEP's website at https://www.maine.gov/dep/spills/topics/pfas/index.html

DEP awards second round of grants for recycling and organics management initiatives

June 19, 2019

Contact: David Madore, Maine DEP Communications Director, (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov david.madore@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, June 19, 2019 - The Maine Department of Environmental Protection recently announced the second round of grant award recipients for recycling and organics management projects. These projects are targeted to divert waste from disposal by expanding composting and recycling opportunities across Maine. DEP received 14 proposals requesting $347,486 and will award $212,790 to fund 13 of these projects. Maine DEP is providing these grants to help businesses, institutions and municipalities address solid waste management challenges.

Reducing the amount of materials consumers buy and use, reusing items, and recycling products and packaging are all actions that significantly reduce our environmental impacts and help to enhance sustainability, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut costs.

Maine DEP is pleased to award funds for the following projects across the state:

Northern Aroostook Solid Waste Association, Eagle Lake - $30,000.00

Recycling - Regional licensed transfer station will construct a new steel building to establish a year-round recycling program for 7 area towns. This will increase the recycling infrastructure in an underserved yet motivated population and allow for year-round recycling.

University of Maine System, Statewide - $38,764.00

Recycling - The Cooperative Extension, working in concert with several agricultural sector partners, will pilot a statewide system for recycling low density polyethylene (LDPE) from greenhouses and high tunnels. This includes: production of a how-to video on removing old plastic to maintain commodity value; establishment of a network of drop-off collection sites; transportation, baling and marketing services; data collection; and analysis of sustainability of this new recycling system.

Bo'Lait Farms, Washington - $24,780.00

Composting - Facility and operational equipment upgrades will improve efficiencies for this newly-established regional composting facility and collection operations.

Pleasant River Farms, Mason Township - $8,460.00

Composting This recently-established regional composting operation in western Maine will upgrade transportation and handling equipment to eliminate the need for single-use plastic liners and improve collection efficiencies and worker safety.

DM&J Waste, Ellsworth - $31,687.00

Composting Expansion at an existing successful licensed composting operation to increase amendment storage will allow for the on-going diversion of 2000 tons annually of mouse bedding from a near-by research operation for composting with food scraps and seafood processing wastes.

Town of Limerick - $16,500.00

Waste reduction /reuse The Town of Limerick has a demonstrated need for a larger building to expand its very successful reuse operations at the transfer station. The proposed project will allow year-round diversion of furniture, dimension lumber and other building supplies in this under-served area.

Town of Vinalhaven - $20,425.00

Composting The town will establish a year-round on-island composting program available to all residents. This will decrease the costs and environmental impacts associated with shipping wastes to the mainland and provide much-needed soil amendments for island gardens.

Manchester Conservation Committee, Manchester - $8,304.00

Recycling - Manchester will pilot the use of an in-town public-private partnership to offer a year-round curbside recycling option with the goal of eliminating contamination that has plagued previous recycling systems. The new system will also significantly decrease transportation for recycling and its related greenhouse gas emissions. Town of Kennebunkport - $8,000.00

Composting This will provide seed funding to establish on-going systems to supply and support backyard composting in Kennebunkport.

City of South Portland - $8,570.00

Composting South Portland will establish a fourth 24/7 residential food scrap drop-off location and expand the availability of food scrap collection to the entire city.

City of South Portland - $2,750.00

Waste reduction and Composting South Portland will establish a voluntary recognition program for the food service industry aimed at changing behavior to reduce and eliminate the use of single-use plastics and to divert organics from disposal to composting.

Town of Lisbon - $3,750.00

Composting Lisbon will establish food scrap collection available to all town residents by constructing a permanent food scrap drop-off station next to its transfer station.

Town of China - $10,500.00

Recycling and composting China proposes to establish a radio frequency identification (RFID) system to gather data on the use of the various components of waste management services (swap shop, recycling stations, disposal) by town of origin. This data will be used to assess expansion of recycling operations to serve residents of neighboring towns, to design operational efficiencies, and to improve education and outreach on recycling.

DEP to hold public meeting regarding proposed aquatic herbicide treatment of a portion of Cobbosseecontee Lake

June 28, 2019

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov or John McPhedran, Invasive Aquatic Plants Program (207) 215-9863 john.mcphedran@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, June 28, 2019 - Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will hold a public meeting on a proposed herbicide treatment of a portion of Cobbosseecontee Lake in Winthrop. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at 6:30PM in the Winthrop Town Office multi-purpose room located at 17 Highland Avenue, Winthrop.

DEP's Invasive Aquatic Species Program (IASP) intends to file an application, called an Notice of Intent (NOI), with DEPs Division of Water Quality Management for a permit to discharge the aquatic herbicide Procellacor EC (active ingredient florpyrauxifen-benzyl) into a 4-acre area of 5,516-acre Cobbosseecontee Lake. The proposed treatment area is between Island Park and the mainland were Eurasian water-milfoil was found in July 2018. The treatment will be completed in one day and will occur mid-summer.

The treatment goal is to eradicate Eurasian water-milfoil from the lake. Eradication is difficult to achieve but may be possible since the plant was discovered early in its establishment. The treatment is part of a management plan that includes diver removal of any remaining plants.

Upon treatment, the Invasive Aquatic Species Program will post the following advisories for the 4-acre treatment area:

  • Do not use lake water for hydroponic, greenhouse or nursery irrigation before contacting the DEP to confirm the herbicide has dissipated
  • Do not use lake water for any residential or non-agricultural irrigation (such as shoreline property use for irrigation of residential landscape plants and homeowner gardens, golf course irrigation, and non-residential property irrigation around business or industrial properties) for 3 days following treatment
  • There is NO swimming restriction for the herbicide (florpyrauxifen-benzyl) but the DEP advises residents not to swim within the treated area on the day of treatment as an added safety measure

Lakeside residents, boat operators and vacationers can help reduce the spread of invasive aquatic plants by boats, trailers, and associated equipment to Maine waters by conducting boat inspections before moving boats between waterbodies. DEP recommends the following:

  • Clean off any mud, plants and animals from the boat, trailer, motor and other equipment. Discard removed material in a trash receptacle or on high, dry ground where there is no danger of washing into the water body.
  • Drain all water from boat, boat engine, and other equipment away from the water.
  • Dry anything that comes into contact with the water. Drying boat, trailer and equipment in the sun for five days is recommended if rinsing your boat, trailer parts and other equipment with hot, high pressure water is not an option.

Learn more about the Invasive Aquatic Species Program by visiting Maine DEPs website at: https://www.maine.gov/dep/water/invasives/index.html

DEP awards grants for stream crossing and culvert upgrades

July 15, 2019

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, July 15, 2019 - Maine voters approved a bond package in November 2017 that included $5 million dollars for vital improvement projects including stream crossing and culvert upgrades. These monies fund competitive grants that match local funding for the upgrade of municipal culverts at stream crossings and must be located on a municipal road. The projects awarded will: benefit public infrastructure by replacing several culverts that are currently failing and at risk of complete washouts, open fish spawning habitat, eliminate undersized and other impassable culverts and reduce some of the worst ongoing erosion impacts to streams, brooks, and lakes.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) received 40 applications to review which totaled over $3 million dollars in fund requests, the Department has issued over $2.5 million dollars in grant money through this round of applications.

Three previous rounds of culvert grants have resulted in a total of 72 culvert upgrade projects in Maine communities statewide and have expended $5.4 million dollars in bond funds earmarked for these infrastructure improvements.

Maine DEP is pleased to announce funds for the following 29 projects across the State:

Municipality Project location Amount awarded
Charleston Bacon Road $95,000
Charleston Garland Road $80,000
Farmington Clover Mill Road $95,000
Farmington Cummings Hill Road $95,000
Starks River Road $75,000
Washington Fitch Road $95,000
West Paris Ellingwood Road #1 $75,000
West Paris Ellingwood Road #2 $70,000
Marshfield Church Lane $35,300
Thomaston West Meadow Road $95,000
Whitefield Sennott Road $75,000
Cambridge Bridge Road $65,000
Cambridge Bailey Road $65,000
Lucerne in Maine Village Lake View Avenue $95,000
Houlton Morningstar Road $95,000
Palmyra Libby Hill Road $95,000
Turner Tidswell Road $95,000
Phillips Reeds Mills Road $95,000
Fryeburg Farnsworth Road $95,000
Rangeley Bald Mountain Road #1 $95,000
Rangeley Bald Mountain Road #2 $95,000
Cherryfield Willey District Road $89,140
Fayette Richmond Mills Road $93,730
Dexter Mill Street $95,000
Freeport West Street $95,000
Wilton Pond Road $79,985
York Mill Lane #2 $95,000
Auburn Soper Mill Road $95,000
Bristol Old Country Road $74,250

For more information including examples of successful applications and the master score sheet for this round please visit Maine DEP's website: https://www.maine.gov/dep/land/grants/stream-crossing-upgrade.html

Herbicide Treatment Scheduled for Monday on Cobbosseecontee Lake

July 16, 2019

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, July 17, 2019 - Herbicide treatment for a portion of Cobbosseecontee Lake in Winthrop is scheduled to occur on Monday, July 22, 2019 according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The treatment goal is to eradicate Eurasian water-milfoil from the lake. Eradication is difficult to achieve but may be possible since the plant was discovered early in its establishment. The treatment is part of a management plan that includes diver removal of any remaining plants.

The aquatic herbicide Procellacor EC (active ingredient florpyrauxifen-benzyl) will be applied from a watercraft into a 4-acre area of 5,516-acre Cobbosseecontee Lake between Island Park and the mainland were Eurasian water-milfoil was discovered in 2018 and continues to grow. The herbicide application is scheduled to begin mid-morning and will likely take 2-3 hours to complete.

Upon treatment, the DEP will post these advisories for the 4-acre treatment area:

  • Do not use lake water for hydroponic, greenhouse or nursery irrigation before contacting the DEP to confirm the herbicide has dissipated.
  • Do not use lake water for any residential or non-agricultural irrigation (such as shoreline property use for irrigation of residential landscape plants and homeowner gardens, golf course irrigation, and non-residential property irrigation around business or industrial properties) for 3 days following treatment.
  • There is no swimming restriction for florpyrauxifen-benzyl but DEP advises residents not to swim within the treated area for a minimum of 24 hours as an added safety measure.
  • Boaters and jet ski operators are urged to refrain from operating in the treatment area until noon on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 to ensure effectiveness of the herbicide.

Lakeside residents, boat operators and vacationers can help reduce the spread of invasive aquatic plants by boats, trailers, and associated equipment to Maine waters by conducting boat inspections before moving boats between waterbodies. DEP recommends the following:

  • Clean off any mud, plants and animals from the boat, trailer, motor and other equipment. Discard removed material in a trash receptacle or on high, dry ground where there is no danger of washing into the water body.
  • Drain all water from boat, boat engine, and other equipment away from the water.
  • Dry anything that comes into contact with the water. Drying boat, trailer and equipment in the sun for five days is recommended if rinsing your boat, trailer parts and other equipment with hot, high pressure water is not an option.

Learn more about the Invasive Aquatic Species Program by visiting Maine DEP's website at: https://www.maine.gov/dep/water/invasives/index.html#clean

DEP to hold workshops for Municipal Stream Crossing Grants

July 25, 2019

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, July 24, 2019 - Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will host four workshops for prospective applicants in preparation for upcoming "requests for proposals" (RFP) of 2019 Municipal Infrastructure Stream Crossing Upgrade Grants. This is an opportunity for funding to help communities with the upgrade of municipal culverts at stream crossings to improve community safety, minimize impacts to water quality, and improve habitat for fish and wildlife.

Maine voters approved a bond package that included $5 million dollars for stream crossing upgrades in 2017. The resulting competitive grant program matches local funding for the upgrade of municipal culverts at stream crossings, to be awarded in two rounds of $2.5 million. The next round of Stream Crossing Upgrade Grants will open September 9, 2019, with a deadline for submitting applications by Tuesday, November 11, 2019. In addition, DEP anticipates additional rounds of stream crossing grant opportunities in 2020.

Municipal leaders who are thinking about applying for a grant, are encouraged to attend for information about stream crossing design, prioritization resources for municipalities, permitting requirements, the RFP process, and preparing proposals for the program. This workshop is an opportunity to discuss how DEP's Municipal Stream Crossing Upgrade Grants can help communities make progress in improving transportation resiliency and public safety while benefiting fish and wildlife habitat.

Workshop Dates / Times:

  • Wednesday, August 14, 1:00 PM-3:30 PM - Presque Isle, Northern Maine Regional Office,1235 Central Drive, Presque Isle, ME 04769
  • Tuesday, August 27, 9:30 AM-12:00 PM Portland, DEP Southern Maine Regional Office, Room 4, 312 Canco Road, Portland, ME 04103
  • Thursday, August 29, 9:30 AM-12:00 PM Augusta, AMHI Campus, Deering Building, Room 101, Blossom Lane, Augusta, Maine 04333
  • Wednesday, September 4, 9:30 AM-12:00 PM Bangor, DEP Eastern Maine Regional Office, Room 4B, 106 Hogan Road, Bangor, Maine 04401

Please register at least 5 days prior to the event by contacting John Maclaine, Maine DEP at john.maclaine@maine.gov or (207) 6153279. Attendees should provide contact information and which workshop location they plan to attend when registering.

DEP issues statement regarding water quality at Maine's beaches

July 26, 2019

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, July 26, 2019 - A recent report by the Environment America Research and Policy Center titled "Safe for Swimming? Water Quality at Our Beaches" has generated a lot of interest in beach water quality in Maine. The information referenced in that report for the State of Maine was generated by the Maine Healthy Beaches (MHB) Program. This is a voluntary program administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with the support of local beach managers and volunteers who collect water quality samples throughout the summer (Memorial Day to Labor Day). While the headlines pulled from the report suggest problems with water quality at Maine beaches, the reality is that 93% of all samples collected in 2018 by the MHB program were below Maine's EPA-approved threshold for safe recreation in marine waters and 97.2% of beach days in 2018 were free from contamination advisories and closures. While there are occasions where high bacteria counts are observed at Maines beaches, the majority of these are related to rain storms that result in stormwater runoff carrying contaminants from upland areas to the beach. An exceedance of the safety threshold does not necessarily mean that someone swimming at that location will get sick, but rather it is an indicator that the risk of getting sick is increased. The municipalities where exceedances have occurred, in conjunction with the State, are actively working to identify and address any potential sources contributing to high bacteria at the beach. Furthermore, because Maines water quality is typically very good, the MHB program intentionally locates monitoring sites near freshwater inputs (streams, rivers, storm drains) or other suspect areas to be as protective of public health as possible.

To learn more about the MHB program, read the 2018 Season Summary Report to EPA, or check the status of MHB participating beaches visit: http://mainehealthybeaches.org/

Maine DEP Issues Air Quality Alert for Tuesday, July 30, 2019

July 29, 2019

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director, (207) 287-5842, david.madore@maine.gov or Tom Downs, Chief Meteorologist, (207) 287-7026, tom.downs@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, July 29, 2019 - Ground-level ozone concentrations will be climbing in Maine on Tuesday and are expected to reach unhealthy levels according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The Southwest Coastal region and the High Elevations of Acadia National Park are the regions forecast to reach the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups range on the Air Quality Index.

At elevated ozone levels, children, healthy adults who exert themselves, and individuals suffering from a respiratory disease such as asthma, bronchitis or COPD can experience reduced lung function and irritation. When this happens, individuals may notice a shortness of breath, coughing, throat irritation, and/or experience an uncomfortable sensation in their chest.

Some actions you can take to protect your health during periods of unhealthy air quality include:

For more information call the contacts listed above or go to DEPs air quality web site http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/

Fish Passage Restoration in the Penobscot

July 30, 2019

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov or Susanne Miller, Regional Director, DEP (207) 941-4190 susanne.miller@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, July 30, 2019 - State and federal environmental officials today proposed to use an $800,000 natural resource damage settlement to fund four restoration projects benefiting fish, wildlife and communities in Hampden, Charleston, Sedgwick and Brooksville. The projects are outlined in a draft restoration plan for the Chevron Oil Terminal Facility in Hampden that is available for public comment through Friday, August 30, 2019.

The settlement was secured by the federal and state government from parties responsible for multiple releases of oil at the former Chevron and Texaco marine oil terminal facilities on the Penobscot River in Hampden. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection; Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry; Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife; Maine Department of Marine Resources; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (collectively, the natural resource trustees for the site) are responsible for selecting natural resource restoration projects that would restore, replace or acquire the equivalent of the natural resources that were injured.

In late 2017, the trustees requested ideas from the public for restoration projects within the Penobscot River watershed. Four project ideas were submitted by Atlantic Salmon Federation, The Nature Conservancy, Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Lane Construction. The trustees propose to partially fund all four, given that other funds to support these projects are also available.

The proposed projects are located in Kenduskeag Stream (Charleston), Sucker Brook (Hampden) and the Bagaduce River (Sedgwick and Brooksville). Overall, seven undersized and/or perched road culverts will be replaced, and two fishways will be installed. Combined, these projects will open up more than 17.5 miles of river and stream habitat to benefit migratory fish (American eel, alewife, blueback herring, rainbow smelt and Atlantic salmon), invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

These projects will complement fish passage efforts by federal and state agencies in the Penobscot watershed, including the removal of the Great Works & Veazie dams on the mainstem, and the installation of a byway for fish and other aquatic wildlife at the Howland Dam. A 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service study found that every mile of river opened so that fish can move freely can contribute more than $500,000 in social and economic benefits once fish populations are at their full productivity https://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2011/pdf/fisherieseconomicreport.pdf

To download a copy of the plan, please visit: https://www.maine.gov/dep/comment/comment.html?id=1369545 . Public comments will be accepted until 5:00 pm on Friday, August 30, 2019. Following the public comment period, the trustees will review input, update the restoration plan as needed, and release the final plan.

Maine DEP to test marine spill response on Penobscot River

August 9, 2019

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, August 9, 2019 - Emergency Response personnel from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection will conduct a boom deployment exercise on the Penobscot River on Thursday, August 15, 2019 in Brewer.

The training exercise will take place at the public boat launch located on North Main Street in Brewer beginning at 9 a.m. on Thursday and continuing until 3PM in the afternoon. The purpose of this exercise is to test the feasibility of emergency response strategies in the event of a marine oil spill in the river.

Maine has a total of 249 protection strategies designed for environmentally sensitive areas from Kittery to Calais, and the DEP has an active program to review and test these strategies to ensure natural resources are most effectively protected.

The North Main Street boat launch will be closed to the public for safety reasons and members of the public should seek an alternative site for boat launching and other recreational activities through the duration of this training exercise.

Maine DEP offers wastewater sludge dewatering grants

August 15, 2019

Contact: David Madore, Communications Director (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, August 15, 2019 - The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has made grant funding available for wastewater infrastructure planning and construction related to new sludge dewatering projects. The presence of PFAS in sludge, particularly for those facilities that do not have dewatering infrastructure, has posed potential management challenges for certain communities.

The grant funding is limited to municipal and quasi-municipal wastewater treatment facilities that do not currently have onsite sludge dewatering infrastructure. This grant may be used to contract with a Professional Engineer to evaluate sludge dewatering options and develop a preliminary engineering report with the recommended alternative. The grant may also be used for one-time contract dewatering services for stored sludge.

DEP has notified potential recipients of the availability of grant funding for new sludge dewatering projects. For more information on this grant please visit Maine DEP's website: http://www.maine.gov/dep/water/grants/srfparag.html