The company that runs the Crossroads Facility on U.S. Route 2 in Norridgewock is looking to add landfill capacity while also growing its waste reduction and recycling programs, including with the addition of a regional composting program.

A public meeting on the proposal from Waste Management Disposal Services of Maine, Inc., is being held by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection at 6 p.m. Thursday at Mill Stream Elementary School in Norridgewock.

The department is evaluating an application from the company for a public benefit determination, which is needed before Waste Management can submit an application for the expansion itself.

“It’s important folks know and understand what’s going on, and this is a great opportunity to learn more about what they’re proposing and ask questions,” Norridgewock Town Manager Richard LaBelle said. “I strongly encourage people to attend. It’s always helpful when you have what will be a long, drawn-out process like this and you have people there that can answer your questions.”

The project includes a roughly 51-acre addition to the landfill at the Crossroads Facility on land already owned by Waste Management, as well as upgrades to the public transfer station on Airport Road currently used by nine towns. The company also is planning to increase waste reduction and recycling through the addition of a textiles recycling program and a composting program.

The 933-acre Crossroads Facility dates to 1990. It includes the community transfer station and a landfill licensed by the DEP to dispose of nonhazardous wastes as well as a renewable energy power plant and several recycling initiatives, including a single-sort recycling program and a tire reuse program that turns scrap tires into fuel chips for paper mills.

The facility serves about 55 communities, mostly in central and western Maine, and it says the expansion would extend the life of the landfill from 2024 to 2040.

Part of the application talks about the benefit to the town of Norridgewock, which receives free waste and recycling services, last year estimated to be worth about $350,000.

The company also paid $253,328 in property taxes in Norridgewock last year and $600,696 in host community fees, a benefit it says would continue with the expansion.

LaBelle said the services and fees paid to the town are “very helpful,” but he added that the host community fees also would have to be renegotiated if the project is approved. In addition to DEP approval, it would also need approval from the Norridgewock Planning Board.

LaBelle said he has heard one concern about the effect the landfill expansion could have on the town’s drinking water, but other than that he said it is too early to say how it has been received.

“On any project, big or small, we always have folks that have concerns,” he said. “It’s really too early to make any assessments on it without the full scope of information and the opportunity for the public to ask questions and get clarification.”

The application says that while landfills have not been ranked by the state as a preferred method of waste disposal, they provide a necessary option for waste that cannot be recycled, incinerated or reused.

Crossroads has partnered with the planned Fiberight Facility in Hampden, which mainly will convert waste to reusable fuel, but estimates it will need to send 20 percent to 30 percent of waste that cannot be converted to the landfill, according to the application.

It also says that with the expansion of the landfill, the company plans to add a textile reuse and recycling program, which would collect clothing from participating municipalities and donate them to local charitable organizations or transport them to a recycling facility.

The company also plans to make investments in its transfer station on Airport Road in Norridgewock as part of the project. The improvements would include a new traffic flow, educational efforts focused on increasing recycling, and dedicated disposal containers for problematic items such as plastic bags that cannot be recycled with single-stream materials.

Finally, the project also would include the launch of an Organics Diversion Program to convert organic materials such as food scraps, paper plates and napkins into compost.

Communities close to Crossroads and commercial entities would be able to participate in the program and could take food scraps and other biodegradable waste to the Airport Road Transfer Station at no cost, the application says.

Waste Management would take the materials to a compost operation at Crossroads, where the materials would be handled, composted and stored. Participants also could receive finished compost on designated days throughout the year.

The company said it plans to recruit businesses and educational institutions to participate in the compost program, and also would like to make education, including tours of the composting operation, a part of what they do.

Two selectmen, Josh Chartrand and Jim Lyman, reached by phone Monday, said they didn’t have details on what the project entails.

“I haven’t heard a lot of complaints, but I’m still figuring it out myself,” Chartrand said. “Waste Management in the past has always done an excellent job, and I can’t imagine they would do anything that would cause problems.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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