AUGUSTA — Rep. Paige Zeigler, D-Montville, introduced a bill before the Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee that would address per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) pollution at Juniper Ridge, a landfill in Old Town owned by the State of Maine.

LD 1875 would require state-owned waste disposal facilities to treat leachate, liquid that has passed through matter and contains soluble or suspended solids, to reduce the concentration of PFAS to the extent possible. The bill requires treatment to occur prior to its shipment to a wastewater treatment facility or for the leachate to be sent to a facility that has the necessary technology to reduce the concentration of PFAS.

The bill further requires the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to adopt rules to establish technology requirements, ensuring the implementation of those requirements within three years and for the monitoring of the efficacy of the installed system.

“The impact of leachate from Juniper Ridge entering the Penobscot River is of significant concern, especially since the Penobscot Nation depends on the fish in the river,” Zeigler said.

“We know from the dairy farm in Arundel, the private wells in Fairfield and the ‘do not eat’ advisory on deer harvested in the communities surrounding Fairfield that PFAS has a lasting impact on both the environment and the human body. We must ensure that our state-owned landfill follows best practices when it comes to disposing of its leachate, and that means it must be appropriately treated for PFAS.”

LD 1875 received support from a number of environmental advocacy organizations during the bill’s public hearing, including the Sierra Club of Maine, the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and the Conservation Law Foundation. Maine Municipal Association also testified in support of the measure.

“The expectation that the state treats its leachate to reduce the concentration of PFAS prior to transfer to a wastewater treatment plant is a sensical requirement that municipalities are in favor of,” said Neal Goldberg, presenting testimony on behalf of Maine Municipal Association.

“Municipal officials also support the alternative, allowing wastewater treatment plants that are equipped with the requisite technology to manage the reduction in PFAS substance concentration on behalf of the state. In general, PFAS contaminated leachate should never be allowed to infiltrate wastewater treatment plants without prior remediation.”

A work session on the bill will be held in the coming weeks.

Zeigler is serving his third term in the Maine House and represents the communities of Belmont, Liberty, Lincolnville, Montville, Morrill, Palermo and Searsmont. He serves on the Environment and Natural Resources and Energy, Utilities and Technology committees.