Maine Department of Environmental Protection EnviroNews

EnviroNews headerEnviroNews banner: forest stream, lake cottage, landfill construction, autumn field, winter lakefront

Spring 2014

In this Issue:

Commissioner's Corner

Commissioner Patrica Aho

Welcome to the first issue of EnviroNews coming to you by a new delivery mechanism called GovDelivery!  It gives you - our subscribers - the power to make decisions about what arrives in your inbox and reinforces the department's commitment to openness and sharing our work with you. This is a very exciting change, and we invite you to follow this link, enter your email address, and decide which topics interest you the most from our subscription tree.

As with most people in Maine after this long, cold winter we’re looking forward to warmer weather and the start of our field season.  When we visit facilities-from construction sites and businesses to municipalities or others, we often hear that they would like more training opportunities from the department.  We took that feedback to heart and established a unit devoted to assistance and training for the regulated community. 

We are creating cross-media approaches toward compliance that instill collaborative relationships. For example, the unit worked with Air Quality Bureau staff and the Maine Marine Trade Association to help its members to comply with air emission licenses.  Now boat builders can go to our website and use  this compliance tool to calculate their emissions to help ensure that they are in compliance with state and federal regulations. 

If a facility asks for compliance assistance then we will try our best to help them. I consider it one of the single most important responsibilities of this agency to explain and help you understand our requirements.  It’s why we are working with a wide array of professional associations to communicate updates and changes within our department.  

The department is especially interested in compliance assistance for small or medium sized entities that may not have an environmental manager or dedicated staff to thoroughly keep up with all of the regulations that affect their facility. We can take advantage of widely available technology to communicate with the regulated community to help you understand our processes and our rules. By offering opportunities to share information with you, we can help to ensure that we can all be stewards of our vital natural resources and have a strong and sustainable economy.

So I challenge you, reach out to the department and help us help you. Continue to communicate and collaborate with us on ways to improve Maine's economy and the environment because when they both prosper, we all win.

For more information on the Assistance Unit contact Chris Swain at 287-7831. 

Consequences of EPA's proposed rule on residential wood heaters


Last month, Commissioner Aho testified at the Environmental Protection Agency’s only public hearing on its proposed residential wood heater rule, which would create new emission standards for wood stoves, indoor and outdoor wood boilers and Russian fireplaces.  

Maine supports regulations that promote more efficient and environmentally beneficial wood-burning devices and agrees with the proposal's goal to reduce the amount of wood smoke in our air.  However, as proposed, the rule creates a number of concerns for our State’s citizens, our forest products industry, related manufacturers, and the range of small businesses who exist to meet needs related to residential wood burning in our predominantly rural state.

The State of Maine, demographically the oldest in the nation and with most of our seniors on a fixed income, is a significant user of wood for residential heating purposes and we consider ease of operation and affordability very important factors and support different emission standards as currently in effect for catalytic and non-catalytic stoves. New, non-catalytic wood stoves offer very efficient, easy-to-operate, and affordable options while still providing environmental benefits and some are made in Maine.  The proposed regulation discouraging easier-to-use technology will ultimately be counterproductive in the pursuit of reduced air emissions.

Another consequence of the proposal is the creation of a disincentive for those considering the replacement of their current wood stoves and furnaces with more efficient devices.

Maine supports providing incentives to encourage consumers with very old, inefficient stoves to replace them with new, more efficient wood stoves.  Funding opportunities should be developed to provide assistance and incentives for older wood stove change-out programs.  This approach would also alleviate concerns about the marketing and resale of second-hand, non-certified wood burning units.   

Maine strongly encourages EPA to refine this regulation to include reasonableness such that newer, cleaner wood stoves are a benefit to the consumer, with no compromise to heating ability, no increase in difficulty of operation, and which are not prohibitively expensive; and such that actual health benefits are realized.  The department encourages people to provide comments to EPA by the May 5, 2014 deadline.  For more on this issue visit the Department's residential wood stove information webpage or contact Marc Cone, Bureau of Air Quality Director at 287-1932. 

Save Your Pipes: Don't Flush Baby Wipes Educational Campaign

Save Your Pipes: Don't Flush Baby Wipes logo

Commissioner Aho offered remarks supporting the campaign at the kick-off event held at Portland Water District's office on January 21, 2014. The "Save Your Pipes: Don't Flush Baby Wipes" campaign is designed to raise awareness about the impacts and costs of non-flushable items such as baby wipes being disposed of in our sewer systems. has more information including two video ads of the zany game show "What the Flush?!?" to learn what to (and what not to) flush. The site also has links to learn more about the non-flushable products (wipes, paper towels, napkins, facial tissue and feminine hygiene products) and what's being done to help prevent damage to home plumbing, septic systems and public sewer systems. For more information contact Brian Kavanah at 287-7700. 

Rulemaking and Opportunities for Public Comment

DEP maintains resources to engage Maine people in department rulemaking and other opportunities for participation. Proposed rules available for comment and rulemaking meeting schedules, as well as proposed, recently enacted and pending regulations are available on the DEP Proposed Rulemaking webpage.

Upcoming Rulemaking
The following final rule hearings are scheduled for final adoption.

April 1, 2014

Chapter 143 New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) and Chapter 144 National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP)

The Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) offer states the option of accepting delegation for NSPS and NESHAP federal requirements for incorporation into the states regulatory programs to streamline the air emission licensing processes. Maine's State Implementation Plan (SIP) provides for partial or complete delegation of the EPA Administrator's authorities and responsibilities to implement and enforce the NSPS and NESHAP. This rulemaking will incorporate by reference all new and amended NSPS and NESHAP that have been added between July 1, 2004 and July 1, 2013 for which the Department has chosen to take delegation. The Department of Environmental Protection may enforce upon NSPS or NESHAP regulations.

Chapter 149 General Permit Regulation for Nonmetallic Mineral Processing Plants and Chapter 164 General Permit for Concrete Batch Plants

The department is proposing amendments to Chapters 149 and 164, which allow most Nonmetallic Mineral Processing Plants (NMMPP) and Concrete Batch Plants (CBP) to obtain operating permits from the department without going through the licensing process required by Chapter 115, Major and Minor Source Air Emission Licensing Regulation. The proposed changes to Chapter 149 bring facilities who address licensing through a general permit into alignment with those covered under a traditional air emission license. The proposed changes to Chapter 164 provide for separation of responsibilities between equipment owners and operators which allows owners the flexibility to rent or loan equipment to other operators similar to Chapter 149.

May 6, 2014

Chapter 884: Designation of Cadmium as a Priority Chemical and Regulation of Cadmium in Children’s Products

Chapter 885: Designation of Formaldehyde as a Priority Chemical and Regulation of Formaldehyde in Children’s Products

Chapter 886: Designation of Mercury as a Priority Chemical and Regulation of Mercury in Children’s Products

Chapter 887: Designation of Arsenic as a Priority Chemical and Regulation of Arsenic in Children’s Products

The four rules proposed will implement Maine’s Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Products law (38 M.R.S.A. §§ 1691-1699-B), which, as set forth in 38 M.R.S.A. § 1692, has the purpose of protecting the health, safety and welfare of children and other vulnerable populations by reducing their exposure to chemicals of high concern by substituting safer alternatives when feasible. Due to a lack of information in the public domain regarding the use of chemicals listed as Maine’s chemicals of high concern, Maine law confers upon the Department the authority to designate chemicals as priority.

Food Scrap Diversion - Exploring Options and Opportunities

Composting operation

Beginning in late spring and continuing through early summer, the department’s Sustainability Division will be offering a series of free workshops focusing on the collection and management of food scraps and other organics. The workshops will be offered in Skowhegan, Bangor, Ellsworth, Auburn, Portland, Calais, Caribou and Wiscasset. 

The sessions will include:  an introduction to Maine’s Food Scrap Recovery Program, techniques to divert, collect and process food scraps, regulations surrounding food scrap recovery and use, lessons learned from current/past collection efforts.  Full-day sessions will also include a tour of an organics processing facility. 

Entrepreneurs, Municipal employees, farmers, local haulers, businesses and private citizens are all invited to attend. 

The first session is May 19th in Skowhegan.  Additional workshop dates, locations and registration information will be posted on the DEP training calendar.  Participants attending these workshops will be provided with the “tools” necessary to begin their own food scrap collection programs as well as identify possible destinations for those organics. 

For more information, contact Mark King, Environmental Specialist at 592-0455.

Looking at Lakes

Aziscohos Lake

Spring is here at last and people across Maine are looking forward to warmer weather and spending time enjoying Maine's abundant lakes.  Are you an angler looking for a new fishing spot? Maybe you are thinking of purchasing lakefront property and need more information about the water quality? Do you want to learn more about threats from invasive plants and animals and how to protect your favorite lake? You can find this information and more at

Lakes of Maine is the result of a collaboration between the Maine DEP, the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program, the University of Maine Mitchell Center and KnowledgeBase Library to make current and historical lake information available in a comprehensive online source.


As part of our commitment to supporting and engaging our partners in environmental protection, DEP and our partners host many educational opportunities across Maine. Below is a list of upcoming DEP classes. On the DEP training webpage, find links to additional training opportunities hosted by our partners in environmental protection.

Septic System Installation contact JETCC (207) 253-8020

March 27, Bangor

April 3, Franklin

April 15, Houlton

Erosion Control Practices for Contractors

April 7, Augusta

April 11, Litchfield

May 6, Augusta

Food Scrap Diversion - Options and Opportunities

May 19, Skowhegan
Date TBD, Bangor, Ellsworth, Auburn, Portland, Calais, Caribou and Wiscasset

Code Enforcement Officer Information and Training

Maine Department of Economic and Community Development