Old Town landfill shows how tough Maine’s ‘forever chemical’ problem is to solve

Feb 14, 2022

Twin Rivers Paper Company in Madawaska is licensed to release 15 million gallons a day of treated papermaking-related waste into the St. John River, including the liquid runoff from the mill’s state-licensed, special waste landfill.

In November, testing revealed that the mill’s landfill runoff had a higher concentration of “forever chemicals” than the runoff from any other Maine landfill that had done testing under a state law passed last year.

But the mill isn’t alone. Every landfill that has produced results so far from the first of five rounds of state-required testing of landfill runoff shows some concentration of the so-called forever chemicals, also known as PFAS, that manufacturers have used for decades in products such as grease-resistant food packaging, waterproof clothing and non-stick cookware, according to Maine Department of Environmental Protection data.

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