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ecomaine serves the solid waste needs of more than 40 municipalities in Southern Maine utilizing a waste-to-energy (WTE) power plant, single-sort recycling center and a 250 acre landfill/ashfill. It monitors adjacent waters and air emission releases to assure that none of its facility operations adversely impact the surrounding environment.
All three ecomaine facilities are ISO 14001 certified for excellence in environmental management (the WTE and recycling center since 2002 and the landfill/ashfill since 2007). ISO, the International Standards Organization, headquartered in Switzerland, requires on-going semi-annual audits by an accredited registrar. ecomaine is the largest publically owned and operated integrated waste management service in the U.S. to hold these certifications at its three facilities.
Following is an overview of ecomaine’s environmental compliance activities; you can also see a more in-depth, scientific review and/or read relevant research.
ecomaine’s Environmental Management System (EMS) is based on the international standard ISO 14001 which recognizes environmental stewardship as part of ecomaine’s daily activities.
The ecomaine EMS offers a mechanism for continuous improvement: to identify and evaluate ways to minimize its impact on the surrounding environment and to stimulate and pursue new discussions. Projects have included a mixer/conditioner to treat fly ash, a reverse osmosis unit to purify boiler water and eliminate use/storage of chemicals (ie: NaOH, HCl) at the waste-to-energy plant, and establishment of routine cleaning of leachate collection lines at the landfill/ashfill.
ecomaine continues to demonstrate the commitment and capability to fulfill its environmental policy through its Environmental Policy based on compliance, communication, continuous improvement and pollution prevention.
ecomaine maintains a high percentage removal rate of pollutants from emissions through use of state-of-the-art air pollution control technology (APCT). ecomaine aggressively monitors air emissions at the WTE from the combustion process and continuously measures criteria pollutants: carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and particulate, known as opacity. Annually, ecomaine tests levels of hydrogen chloride (HCl), particulate matter (PM), ammonia (NH3), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg) and dioxin/furans (D/F). Examples of ecomaine’s air pollution control technology include:
Continuous Emissions Monitoring
ecomaine maintains the following monitors to measure emission concentrations:
ecomaine developed a quality assurance and quality control plan for the operation of its continuous monitoring systems which is reviewed annually. Two instrumentation and control technicians maintain and calibrate the monitors daily, which include primary and back-up CEMS and primary COMS and CERMS. In addition, ecomaine retains third-party consultants for monthly preventative maintenance, quarterly cylinder gas audits, opacity audits and relative accuracy test audits (RATA).
Annually, ecomaine performs compliance stack tests to evaluate the emissions from the WTE combustion processes, as required in the Title V air license. The stack tests include measurements for particulate matter, dioxin/furan, hydrogen chloride, ammonia and multiple metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. Annual emission reports are submitted to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP).
ecomaine’s waste-to-energy facility has “bottom ash” which is a residue by-product of non-combustible material that falls to the grates below the boilers. It is cooled in a “quench tank” and then pushed through an ash extractor onto a vibrating conveyor.
This is the finer, lighter residual material that is removed from the air pollution control system collected in the ESP hoppers and conveyed to a mixer-conditioner for treatment ; then, it is combined with the bottom ash on a
The combined ash is comprised in a ratio of 90% bottom ash and 10% fly ash.
The ash mixture, a non-hazardous material, is conveyed up an incline where it passes over a ferrous magnet to remove metal before it is placed in ecomaine dump trucks and transported to ecomaine's own landfill/ashfill facility just 2.5 miles away.
To confirm ecomaine’s combined ash does not contain elevated amounts of hazardous material (as defined by Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection regulations), the characterization of ash is subject to specific EPA ash testing. Each quarter sampling is required every four hours for a period of four weeks; totaling 672 sample collections annually.
ecomaine also performs a rigorous ash monitoring schedule using Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP), to detect arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium and silver. The long-term statistical summary for the TCLP metals at ecomaine have never exceeded the regulatory threshold for TCLP metals.
In addition to stabilization, ashfills have a distinct advantage over traditional landfills because the ash occupies just one-tenth the space, and using less space means our ashfill will be serving our needs far longer.
ecomaine rigorously evaluates the quality of stormwater and surface water that surround all three of its facilities (as required by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection). ecomaine consistently demonstrates that operations at the waste-to-energy plant, ashfill/landfill facility, and recycling center do not adversely impact surrounding waters.
ecomaine is fortunate to be in the watershed of the Stroudwater River, to have a tributary which attracts wildlife, and to be abutted by a wooded path maintained by Portland Trails. Our mission is to protect this environment while providing our owner-communities with the waste and recycling services you - their residents - require.
Part of ecomaine's pollution prevention program addresses surface water runoff. It has an intricate sub-surface piping system that collects runoff and sends it to a sedimentation pond on the property, allowing pesticides to settle rather than flow into the river. It also takes simple preventative measures, such as sweeping paved areas daily and covering materials that might be exposed to rain.
Should there be any pollutants from the facilities entering surface waters, ecomaine will know: