The long-term viability of Old Town and surrounding communities is at stake. The state has proposed an expansion of the dump in West Old Town. Picture the dump in Hampden. Now picture the same in Old Town. If the application is accepted, waste will increase from 50,000 tons a year to nearly 500,000 and will approximate the height of the Hampden landfill, becoming the highest point in town.
I am opposed to the enlarging of the Old Town dump. This expansion would place two titanic waste dumps within 38 miles of each other, causing a major increase in traffic, damage to local roads, odor and risk to human health from pollution and environmental degradation. As a result, a few communities will have to bear the economical and environmental costs of waste disposal. Old Town and Alton will be most adversely affected. Old Town has spent several years successfully revitalizing its downtown. This dump will counteract that effort. These small, struggling communities would have to bear the brunt and stigma.
Eventually, all landfills leak. The proposed expansion is more than a 20- to-30-year commitment. The impact will have devastating effects far into the future. Ultimately we will have to deal with the clean up of drinking water, something that is already precariously difficult to keep safe.
Why are we not increasing our effort to find ways to reduce our waste instead of increasing the amount of waste going into Old Town? Why aren’t we focusing on finding markets for recycled materials and methods for recycling them (a great potential for jobs in Maine)? We should be seriously considering the answers insteadof considering dump expansion.