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DEC tentatively allows permit renewal
for hazardous waste disposal at CWM

PORTER – The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced Wednesday that it has tentatively decided to grant a permit renewal to CWM Chemical Services for continued disposal of hazardous waste at its 47.1-acre landfill.

The DEC announcement emphasized that no decision has been made on the company's request to expand the landfill, part of the 710-acre parcel owned by Waste Management, CWM's parent company.

The five-year permit renewal for existing operations won't be official until after a 60-day public comment period, which ends Jan. 28. The DEC distributed a fact sheet showing that the comment period is 15 days longer than required by state regulations.

The comment period will include public meetings at 5 and 7 p.m. Jan. 14 in Lewiston-Porter High School, 4061 Creek Road, Lewiston.

The last permit was granted in 2005, and operations have been holding over since its formal expiration in 2010.

As of early November, the landfill had taken 165,000 tons of hazardous waste this year, spokeswoman Lori Caso said Wednesday.

Opposition to CWM, including members of the group Residents for Responsible Government, had speculated that the landfill might run out of space before its permit was renewed.

The renewal includes several modifications, including an increase from $70 million to $100 million in the amount that CWM must commit to pay for monitoring the existing landfill once its space is exhausted and the site is fully capped.

The DEC says it has increased the required post-closure care period to 30 years. Also, the agency has granted CWM authorization to deal with two contamination issues that have cropped up recently at the site, and those will be included in the new permit.

Two new groundwater-pumping systems and waste-storage tanks were authorized Aug. 1 because of groundwater contamination found at the landfill.

Also, radiological contamination has been found in the sediment in a pond that contains treated water that leached from the landfill. A three-year investigation timetable is included in the proposed new permit. CWM also must continue remediation on previously discovered leaks.

CWM's means of informing waste haulers that trucks may not arrive during student arrival and departure periods at the nearby Lew-Port campus also is being altered, although the hours have not been changed.

The company would now be allowed to inform the haulers of the blackout hours directly instead of including the information in the transporter's permit; CWM is no longer required to sign that permit because of a change in DEC regulations.