Read the full article by David Marino Jr. (Bangor Daily News)

“PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Presque Isle Utilities District has a two-part $15.6 million plan that will update its wastewater treatment plant to use a sludge dewatering system and to increase treatment capacity.

The changes will bring the city of Presque Isle into compliance with 2019 orders from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

In February 2019, the Maine DEP issued a consent order that all wastewater flows into the district’s Dyer Street plant receive secondary biological treatment. Currently, the plant’s capacity makes it unable to perform that treatment during heavy rain and rapid spring snow melts.

A month later, the DEP ordered the city to stop spreading wastewater sludge on fields until they tested the soil for PFAS chemicals, popularly known as ‘forever chemicals,’ because they do not break down over time. The department later found that PFAS chemicals on nine out of Presque Isle’s 12 fields were higher than the state-mandated limit.

The Presque Isle facility was among the few statewide at the time to rely almost exclusively on sludge spreading, and had been planning to phase out the practice.

Heavy exposure to PFAS chemicals has consistently been linked to higher cholesterol rates in humans, according to the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection. More limited findings link them to cancer and low infant birth weights…”