The ecomaine landfill/ashfill site is located between County Road and Running Hill Road on 274 contiguous acres between Scarborough and South Portland. The property, purchased in 1974, opened as a landfill in 1978, and is expected to last until around 2045.
Solid waste is burned to produce electricity at our waste-to-energy plant in Portland, then the ash generated from combustion is trucked just two miles to the landfill/ashfill, a waste site owned and operated by ecomaine and licensed by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection for special waste disposal. Because waste is burned, the volume of material is reduced by 90% – leaving only 10% to take up space at the landfill/ashfill property. ecomaine monitors ground and surface water three times per year and treated leachate is tested quarterly. Monitoring results show the facility does not have a significant environmental impact.
Conversion of municipal solid waste (MSW) into an inert ash through the ecomaine waste-to-energy plant, eliminates the MSW decomposition process. If not processed through the WTE plant, that decomposition would generate acidic, heavy metal-bearing leachate that could contaminate ground and surface water. In ash form, however, the heavy metals are stabilized into compounds such as hydroxides and sulfates that remain in the ash and pose minimal risk of release into the environment.
ecomaine takes extra steps to safeguard the ecosystem at our landfill site: we install underground drainage systems (pipes, wicks, stone-lined out-flow beds); there are a series of five ponds which cleanse surface waters by using a more natural method that includes planted cattails to absorb iron; and there are more than 200 monitoring points throughout the landfill. In addition, we have a synthetically lined holding-pond.