BATH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has started repaying towns millions of dollars owed for work done years ago to remediate and close old landfills.
"Towns and cities were asked to either close or clean-up certain types of landfills over the years, and some of those towns and cities had to do so even though they knew that there weren't state monies avaialble to reimburse them for part of those costs," explained Patricia Aho, Commissioner of the Maine DEP.
"This is an exciting day for the department, because we are able to do the first installment of debts the State of Maine and the Department of Environmental Protection has owed the city of Bath and other communities for many, many years," she added.
The state owes Bath nearly $800,000 for work the city undertook to close and cap an old, unlined landfill more than a decade ago.
"It has been 13 years and we really haven't received anything," stated Peter Owen, director of Bath's Public Works Department. "In the end, the taxpayers end up paying a lot of it, too. This money will go to sort of off-set the tax payer."
Bath is not the only community that will be getting checks from the state, 12 communities will be receiving back payments for work they did. Once all the payments are made, the amount the state is reimbursing these towns will total roughly $4 million.
"They stepped forward and did the right thing for the environment, and we know that we have to step forward and do the right thing for the economy and put our fiscal house in order," said Aho.