$350K sought for MDI hazardous waste facility 



MOUNT DESERT ISLAND — Acadia Disposal District (ADD) is asking for at least $350,000 in federal funds to build a facility for the year-round collection and management of household hazardous waste (HHW) and universal waste (UW) for the Mount Desert Island region. 

(See examples of HHW and UW at the end of this story.) 

The ADD has asked Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to include the application for funding as part of their request for Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) for the 2023 fiscal year.  

The CDS process is “an important and valuable way for each member to communicate their federal budget priorities…and advocate for programs that are important to their constituents and benefit their states,” according to the Senate Appropriations Committee, whose subcommittees review senators’ CDS requests. 

Representatives of both Maine senators told the Islander last week that their offices are reviewing the ADD request, along with others they received by the April 15 deadline. 

King’s communications director, Matthew Felling, said that over the next few weeks senators and their staffs would be deciding which projects to recommend for CDS funding. He said both King and Collins have very high rates of success in securing federal money for local projects in Maine. 

According to the ADD, the proposed HHW and UW facility would greatly improve the ability to manage these types of materials. Since 2005, the ADD has coordinated an annual one-day HHW and UW collection event. 

“Although this event has always drawn considerable participation from throughout the region, we believe it captures only a small part of the need,” the ADD said in its funding request. “Changing times tell us that the one-day-a-year collection is not enough.” 

Five towns are members of the ADD: Mount Desert, Tremont, Trenton, Cranberry Isles and Frenchboro, but residents of several other area towns including Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor, Lamoine and Swan’s Island typically participate in the annual collection. And Acadia National Park officials have indicated the park would use a local collection facility. 

Tony Smith, chair of the ADD board of directors, said officials at EMR (Eastern Maine Recycling) in Southwest Harbor have expressed interest in hosting the hazardous waste facility. Universal waste can already be taken to the EMR transfer station on the second Saturday of each month between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.  

The total estimated cost of developing an HHW and UW collection facility is $436,000. So, why is the ADD asking for only $350,000 in federal funds? 

The 1986 legislation that established the permanent boundaries of Acadia National Park included a provision that a parcel of Acadia-owned land in Town Hill would be given to the town of Bar Harbor for construction of a regional solid waste transfer station and the federal government would provide up to $350,000 of the cost. But plans for such a facility at that location were abandoned almost as soon as the legislation was signed. 

Although the ADD’s formal application is for $350,000 it is asking the senators to consider requesting a CDS appropriation of $436,000. 

Smith said in an April 28 letter to ADD member towns that if Congress does not approve the full amount, “an option would be to approach the towns and Acadia National Park to ask if they would assist with providing funding for any difference in grant and actual costs.” 

Smith has asked the ADD towns to send a letter to Collins and King expressing support for the funding request for an HHW and UW collection facility. 

“We could keep a lot more of these materials out of the waste stream if we had a local, readily accessible outlet for them,” he said. 

Examples of HHW and UW 

HHW includes a wide range of substances including paint, turpentine, transmission and brake fluids, used antifreeze, oven and drain cleaners, herbicides, pesticides and waste oil. 

UW waste includes rechargeable batteries, fever and cooking thermometers, TVs, computers, monitors, printers and certain types of lights. 

 

 

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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