OLD TOWN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town has been the center of attention due to recent controversial ideas such as expanding the landfill. To show the community that it's not as bad of an idea as they may think it is, Juniper Ridge is inviting them to come take a look for themselves in the form of a tour.
"We thought if we encourage the public to take a tour of the landfill, and actually find out what happens here, what the facts are, they'll have a better understanding," said Don Meagher, Manager of Planning and Development of Casella Waste System.
An understanding that landfills aren't what they used to be 30 years ago. Juniper Ridge's most recently built cell takes full advantage of the latest technology.
"It's a 4-foot-thick multi-layer engineered system that keeps in the liquid in the landfill which we then collect and take to a treatment plant.
Landfills 30 years ago didn't have that and the water in those landfills went right out into the underlying ground water. That doesn't happen anymore," said Meagher.
And then the waste is laid down on top of that. Calling in for machinery to compact the waste, making sure every bit of space is utilized.
Along the side of the cell you'll see gas wells. There are about 130-150 of them on site acting as giant vacuums.
"It can pull gas from the waste that's decomposing in about a 200 feet radius," said Jeremy Labbe, Engineer and Environmental Compliance Manager of Casella Waste Systems.
And they're monitored daily.
"They'll measure the composition, how much methane, carbon dioxide if theres any oxygen," said Labbe.
Juniper Ridge does not have a project yet to put those gases to use, but they're looking to change that.
"What we're hoping to do is use that methane as a fuel source to help heat and we've been talking to the University of Maine about that...using the landfill gas to heat the campus," said Meagher.