In this Issue:
Earlier this month, the EPA released a plan to reduce carbon
emissions from existing fossil fueled power plants. It’s generated a lot
of discussion nationally and within the State about climate change. It’s a
discussion that I welcome. Climate change by its very nature crosses into every
single environmental discipline we have. Air, water, energy, waste, land
use, all of our actions and reactions matter when it comes to climate change.
DEP is engaged in both climate
mitigation and adaption efforts in many ways: whether it is through
committing to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, whether it is
through our work with regional and national environmental associations, or our
international work with New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, our work with EPA Region I helping EPA to build a cross-state and federal
approach. Our work is multi-faceted, multi-pollutant, and we are
It is forcing us as a regulatory agency to really break-down
the various silos which have been built up over 40 years. And I say
thank goodness! It’s why the Governor created the Environmental and
Energy Resources Working Group, which is led by DEP and is comprised of
DACF, DOT, Energy, IFW and DMR. We were asked to further compile
information on the ongoing work all of our agencies are undertaking and publish
that later this summer.
You have an opportunity to submit your suggestions,
recommendations and ideas how we as agencies can reduce any impediments we have
created, unblock road blocks we may have built and explain how we can undertake a
cross-agency approach to climate change adaptation work you need to
accomplish. Submit these ideas to Erle Townsend by June 30.
Environmental Excellence awards, administered by the Maine Department of
Environmental Protection, were presented by Governor LePage and Commissioner
Aho in a ceremony at Vic Firth Company, the world’s leading drumstick
manufacturer based in Newport, Maine.
Allagash Brewery, the Lewiston-Auburn Water Pollution Control Authority and the Maine Water Environment Association received awards for voluntarily going above and beyond regulatory requirements for innovation and environmental sustainability.
recipients show that both large investments and small changes pay off both
economically and environmentally. The department is proud of the
recipients who understand that a healthy environment and strong economy support
one another and by stewarding our natural resources ensures a strong and stable
economy. Today’s recipients know that when they both prosper, we all
Learn more about the 2014 award winners.
Every time it rains, or when snow and ice melt,
stormwater is flowing across Maine’s landscape.
In a natural setting of forest, meadows, and fields,
stormwater flow is slowed by plants and naturally existing irregular
surfaces such as mounds and depressions in the landscape. Slowing the flow limits erosion and provides time for some of it to filter through the ground which recharges our
ground and surface water systems, like streams and wetlands.
lots, roads and driveways prevent stormwater from soaking into the ground and cause
it to run off faster. Fast
water is hungry water, meaning the quicker it is moving the more material it can
erode and carry. Stormwater picks up pollution as it flows across paved surfaces and carries it to the nearest wetland or waterbody. The pollution could include soil, spilled chemicals, pet waste, or many other substances.
The Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) and other laws regulate municipal stormwater management. These laws
protect and improve water quality in Maine’s wetlands, streams, rivers, and
lakes so we can enjoy fresh safe drinking water, healthy ecosystems, and many types of water recreation.
Towns maintain stormwater systems such as roads with drainage
systems, municipal streets, catch basins, curbs, gutters, ditches, human-made
channels or storm drains to reduce or eliminate pollution
entering Maine’s surface waters. This summer 30 municipalities will work on some new
requirements of the MS4 General Permit issued July 1, 2013.
To learn more find out and how you can help, visit
DEP’s MS4 website or contact David Ladd (207-215-7168).
household wastes are hazardous (i.e., they may be toxic, flammable, corrosive,
or reactive), they are not required to be disposed of as hazardous waste. Common products used by households that are
hazardous include: pesticides, including weed and feed, moss killers, insect
sprays and slug bait; thinners and solvents; oven, drain & toilet bowl
cleaners; bleach and ammonia (mixing these creates a toxic gas);
fluorescent light bulbs; gasoline and antifreeze; oil-based paint; and a number
of electronic devices. When these
products are thrown in the trash, they can release toxics to Maine’s
The best approach to
preventing pollution caused by household hazardous waste (HHW) is to not create
it in the first place. This means using safer alternatives
(e.g., baking soda and vinegar for cleaning, using LED light bulbs), buying
only as much as you need (paint), and safely using up what you do buy. Maine currently has product stewardship
programs for fluorescent light bulbs and electronics. You can find a collection location near you on our Help ME Recycle webpage. A
stewardship program for paint is scheduled to begin in 2015.
There are some safe
management options for the HHW that remains after reducing, reusing and
recycling it. Some towns offer a HHW
collection event for their residents, once or twice a year, to ensure safe disposal of HHW. These collection events are usually organized
regionally, with towns working together to hire a hazardous waste contractor to
run the event and provide safe handling of the hazardous products. In addition, there are two permanent HHW
collection sites in Portland
and Lewiston; anyone can bring their HHW to either
of these facilities, where a fee may be charged.
The Nature Conservancy is seeking initial proposals for a new round
of competitive grants from the Maine Natural Resource Conservation
Program, which the organization administers on behalf of the Maine
Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Army Corps of
The program helps offset impacts to natural resources by funding the
restoration, enhancement or preservation of similar habitats. It
provides regulatory flexibility for agencies to allow a fee payment in
lieu of traditional mitigation options.
Grants are awarded annually, and over the first five funding rounds,
MNRCP has distributed close to ten million dollars to important efforts
to conserve Maine’s natural resources.
How to apply: Public agencies, non-profit conservation organizations
and private individuals are encouraged to submit a letter of intent,
including a project summary form and map, for eligible restoration and
preservation projects in Maine. All letters of intent must be submitted
online by 5:00 pm, June 30, 2014 at http://mnrcp.org/.
Applicants whose projects meet the program’s requirements will be
invited to submit full proposals. All proposals will be evaluated and
ranked by a Review Committee convened by the Maine Department of
Environmental Protection and made up of public and nonprofit entities.
The Nature Conservancy administers the process but does not decide which
proposals receive funding. Final grant awards are expected to be made
in early 2015.
For more information about the Maine Natural Resource Conservation
Program, or to apply for funding, visit the program’s new website at http://mnrcp.org/
Commissioner Aho celebrated Small Business Week by visiting
Maine Standard Biofuels and presenting a signed certificate from Governor Paul R. LePage.
Small Business Week was May 12-16, and the LePage Administration Commissioners visited numerous small businesses across the State to thank them for keeping Maine's economy strong.
Since 2006 Maine Standard Biofuels has collected used cooking oil from restaurants and turned it into biodiesel for large truck fleets. With a mission to be a leader in sustainability efforts in the State of Maine, the Portland-based company supports the local economy through socially and environmentally sustainable practices. Learn more about Maine Standard Biofuels at their website.
Maine’s springtime powers are underway as trees leaf
out, flowers bloom and lawns relentlessly demand to be mowed. In lakes, underwater, the same holds true as aquatic
plants including unwelcomed invasive species respond to longer daylight and warmer
Recreational and commercial users of public waters
are also emerging for the season, taking to our lakes and ponds with boats,
fishing gear and hydro-seeding/irrigation equipment—all which increase opportunities
for habitat-choking plants to hitchhike beyond their host lake.
Freeloading destructive plants vs. people: which has
the upper hand?
Certainly boaters do if they inspect gear and
discard into trash all plant debris prior to entering and just after leaving
any Maine water body. That gear includes motor prop, anchor and lines, bunks or
rollers, trailer hitches, axles and license plates. Same goes for fishing
gear—inspect tackle as well as check and dry live wells before traveling
Landscapers who hydro-seed and irrigate and water
tank drivers who service swimming pools need to do their part too. Sanitation
practices include anti-syphon devices or screened nozzles on hoses, never
returning water to a lake or pond, and checking for and removing plant debris
on equipment right after taking water and before filling. Better yet, avoid
taking water altogether from infested lakes.
For more information, contact John McPhedran
Now that the summer heat is officially here, Maine’s coastal
beaches are a great place for visitors and residents alike to take a dip to
cool off. Beach goers can be assured that when they head to a beach
it will be clean and almost always for swimming thanks to the Maine Healthy
Beaches monitoring program, administered by DEP with staff assistance from
UMaine Cooperative Extension.
In 2013, MHB processed over 2156 samples at 148
monitoring locations from the beaches in York County to Bar Harbor and 95
percent of the days were free of beach advisories or closures. Nearly 85
percent of exceedances were preceded by rainfall.
DEP urges all to use best beach practices which include
picking up pet waste, using diapers for small children, not feeding water fowl
and maintain and routinely pump out septic systems.
For more information go to www.mainehealthybeaches.org or
contact Colin Clark.
The 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.
You can now sign up to receive rulemaking updates clicking the managing your subscription at the bottom of this e-mail.
Rulemaking (Dates and rules subject to change)
June 17, 2014
Chapter 409 SWM
Chapter 410 SWM
Chapters 409 and 410: As
required by Resolves 2013 Chapter 43 (“Resolve, Directing the Department of
Environmental Protection To Develop Quantitative Odor Management Standards”)
the Department of Environmental Protection is posting draft changes to the
Solid Waste Management Rules: Processing Facilities, 06-096 CMR 409 and
Composting Facilities, 06-096 CMR 410. The revisions incorporate quantitative
odor management standards for facilities that process wastewater treatment
sludge from publicly owned treatment works and facilities that process septage.
Other opportunities for
participation include public comment periods for Department agreements,
planning and federal rulemaking opportunities at the DEP Opportunity for Comment webpage.
Sign up to receive notifications about hearings or public comment
periods, or contact Mike
Karagiannes (207) 287-7024.
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.
June 25 Legal Professional Education Series - Enforcement Update, simulcast from Augusta to Portland and Bangor
July 19 Annual Lake Monitoring Conference, Turner
August 13-14 Septic Systems: From Design to Approval, Richmond
Contact Maine Rural Water Association, 207-737-4092
September 12 Watershed Survey Workshop, Auburn
Maine DOT Local Roads Program workshops