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Maine DEP News and Media Releases



Official media releases from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.



Copyright: Copyright 2017 All rights reserved.
 



2017 Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 16:51:54 EST

Governor Paul R. LePage and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence. The awards, which are administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, recognize businesses, public entities and individuals for their extraordinary efforts to protect and improve Maine's environment. "Maine DEP is pleased to spotlight this year's winners, who provide solid examples of innovation and sustainability for Maine businesses and citizens to follow," said Maine DEP Commissioner Paul Mercer.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is committed to improving our State's regulatory climate and to creating a stronger culture of cooperation between government and Maine people and businesses. The 2017 Governor's Award for Environmental Excellence will be awarded to the following:

####Pratt & Whitney - North Berwick

Pratt & Whitney, with approximately 33,500 employees worldwide and 1,800 employees at the North Berwick facility, is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, auxiliary and ground power units and small turbojet propulsion products for both commercial and military sectors. PWNB has recently implemented a coolant reconditioning program in which coolant is recycled through a three-tank system. The coolant reconditioning program has the potential once it reaches its full utilization to save 100 gallons of coolant per day and the potential to save nearly 1,100 gallons of water daily.

####Kenneth Locke, Director of Environmental Services - City of Brewer

Ken Locke has worked for the City of Brewer since 1992 in a variety of capacities, before becoming the Director of Environmental Services for the City in 2000. Since 2003, Mr. Locke has taken a proactive and aggressive approach to maintaining Brewer's Stormwater Management Program and has shown he is committed to protecting the health and safety of its citizens and the quality of the surface waters of Maine. Additionally, Ken Locke organized the annual Brewer Stream Cleanup event, which has attracted 200 volunteers and collected three to five tons of trash annually. Both professionally and personally, Mr. Locke has dedicated considerable time to educating local students, citizens of Brewer and neighboring communities about stormwater pollution and the importance of clean water.

####James Atwell, Retired Senior Project Manager - Sevee & Maher Engineers. Inc.

Throughout his 50-year career as a civil and environmental engineer, James Atwell of Falmouth has used his professional skills to make Maine a better place to work and live. Mr. Atwell has devoted much of his energies to helping reinvent the struggling forest products industry as well as support biomass conversion technologies to enhance Maine's competitiveness in producing sustainable forest bioproducts, particularly biofuels.

He has been a strong voice in balancing natural resource protection with the growing infrastructure needs of municipalities, businesses and individuals. His work has focused on incorporating clean technologies into many environmental and infrastructure projects, and he has distinguished himself as a leader in many facets of environmental engineering. Mr. Atwell's work in waste management, energy reduction, sustainability and environmental stewardship has directly or indirectly benefitted every person in Maine.

In the coming weeks, DEP Commissioner Paul Mercer will be making site visits to the honorees at their business establishment to make the award presentations.



Maine DEP Issues Air Quality Alert for Monday, June 12, 2017

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 10:24:19 EDT

(AUGUSTA) -- Ground-level ozone concentrations will be climbing in Maine on Monday and are expected to reach unhealthy levels from Kittery to Acadia according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). In addition, moderate levels of particle pollution are expected in the same areas. This is a multiday ozone event that has been building since last Wednesday beginning in Texas. On Thursday elevated levels of ozone occurred in Texas and Missouri then expanded further north and East to Tennessee and the Great Lakes on Friday. On Saturday, elevated levels of ozone exceedances are expected to expand into the metro corridor from Washington DC to Boston with Moderate levels reaching Maine's southwest coast. Maine will be impacted by this transport event on Monday, June 12, 2017. At elevated ozone levels, children, healthy adults who exert themselves, and individuals suffering from a respiratory disease such as asthma, bronchitis or COPD can experience reduced lung function and irritation. When this happens, individuals may notice a shortness of breath, coughing, throat irritation, and/or experience an uncomfortable sensation in their chest. Some actions you can take to protect your health during periods of unhealthy air quality include:

- Adjusting your schedule to avoid strenuous outdoor activity during the afternoon. - Please consult the Maine CDC website for information on the health impacts of extreme heat and appropriate actions to take (http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/environmental-health/heat/). - The Maine CDC Asthma Prevention and Control Program has asthma information available at their web site: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/population-health/mat/index.htm - For more information on asthma control visit EPA's Web site www.epa.gov/asthma to find information about asthma triggers and lessons on asthma management.In addition to those in a sensitive group, sports coaches, elder care workers, nurses and others who are responsible for the welfare of people impacted by poor air quality are urged to use one of the listed tools to follow the Air Quality Forecast: - Air Quality Forecast page: http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/ which has links to: - EnviroFlash, EPA's email and text alert system, http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/enviroflash.html - Twitter, for sign up information go to: http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/twitter.html - EPA's mobile app is available at: http://m.epa.gov/apps/airnow.html - DEP's toll free air quality hotline is 1-800-223-1196 For more information call the contacts listed above or go to DEP's air quality web site http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/



EPA awards Maine $1.795 million in Brownfields grants

Thu, 01 Jun 2017 16:27:20 EDT

AUGUSTA-EPA has awarded Maine $1.795 million in Brownfields Planning, Site Assessment and Clean-up Grants for FY2017.

Since 1997, Maine has received close to $50 million in competitive grant funding for the Brownfields program, created thousands of jobs and assessed or cleaned up 1,500 acres across the state.

"Maine's economy is tied to its natural resources," said DEP Commissioner Paul Mercer. "I am pleased the development of abandoned and unsafe property across the state puts these sites back on the property tax rolls with the use of brownfields funds."

One advantage of assessing potential sites is that some of them may not have significant contamination, and they can be quickly cleared for businesses to expand, invest or redevelop the property.

Maine has had one of the most successful Brownfields programs in the country. DEP understands the success of this program comes from working together with EPA and the applicants.

"Maine has consistently received higher amounts than many other states because we have an excellent staff that work tirelessly with potential recipients and help with applications, forms and overall information," said Commissioner Mercer.

Assessing and cleaning up the Brownfields sites remains a top priority for Mercer and DEP. "My vision for the Department recognizes that a healthy environment translates to a healthy economy," Mercer said.

A "brownfield" is defined by the EPA as "real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of hazardous substances, pollutant or contaminants." The purpose of the Brownfields Program is to encourage re-development at these properties. This is accomplished by working with municipalities and potential owners to assist them with conducting investigations and remediation where necessary to allow for productive re-use of brownfields sites.

In Maine this year, EPA is providing Brownfields grants to the following municipalities and groups:

- Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, Western Maine, $200,000 (community-wide assessment grant) - Bangor, $200,000 (community-wide assessment grant) - Berwick, $200,000 (cleanup-Prime Tanning Company, Inc.-Blue Sort Building) - Hallowell, $300,000 (community-wide assessment grant) - Maine Department of Environmental Protection, $300,000 (community-wide assessment grant) - Our Katahdin LLC for the town of Millinocket, $310,000 (cleanup-Miller's Department Store) - The Eastern Maine Development Corp. for the Town of Bucksport, $285,000 (area-wide planning grant) Potential Brownfields applicants are encouraged to contact Nick Hodgkins of DEP's Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management, Brownfields Program, by phone at (207) 287-7688 or by e-mail at Nick.Hodgkins@maine.gov. More information can be found here about the Brownfields Program: http://www.maine.gov/dep/spills/brownfields/index.html



Maine DEP Issues Air Quality Alert for Thursday, May 18, 2017

Wed, 17 May 2017 15:27:45 EDT

(AUGUSTA) -- Ground-level ozone concentrations will be climbing in Maine on Thursday and are expected to reach unhealthy levels along the entire coastline and will reach inland to include the interior regions according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).In addition, moderate levels of particle pollution are expected in the same area on Thursday. This is a multiday ozone event that has been building since last weekend beginning in the south & central part of the country. Earlier this week elevated levels of ozone moved further north & east to locations around the Great Lakes as well as Mid-Atlantic States. On Wednesday, ozone exceedances are expected to expand into the metro corridor from Washington DC to Boston. Maine will be impacted by this transport event on Thursday. At elevated ozone levels, children, healthy adults who exert themselves, and individuals suffering from a respiratory disease such as asthma, bronchitis or COPD can experience reduced lung function and irritation. When this happens, individuals may notice a shortness of breath, coughing, throat irritation, and/or experience an uncomfortable sensation in their chest. Some actions you can take to protect your health during periods of unhealthy air quality include:

- Adjusting your schedule to avoid strenuous outdoor activity during the afternoon. - Please consult the Maine CDC website for information on the health impacts of extreme heat and appropriate actions to take (http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/environmental-health/heat/). - The Maine CDC Asthma Prevention and Control Program has asthma information available at their web site: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/population-health/mat/index.htm - For more information on asthma control visit EPA's Web site www.epa.gov/asthma to find information about asthma triggers and lessons on asthma management.In addition to those in a sensitive group, sports coaches, elder care workers, nurses and others who are responsible for the welfare of people impacted by poor air quality are urged to use one of the listed tools to follow the Air Quality Forecast: - Air Quality Forecast page: http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/ which has links to: - EnviroFlash, EPA's email and text alert system, http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/enviroflash.html - Twitter, for sign up information go to: http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/twitter.html - EPA's mobile app is available at: http://m.epa.gov/apps/airnow.html - DEP's toll free air quality hotline is 1-800-223-1196 For more information call the contacts listed above or go to DEP's air quality web site http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/



ME DEP seeks Proposals for Final Round of Wetland Restoration Grants

Wed, 17 May 2017 15:22:16 EDT

(AUGUSTA) - The Department of Environmental Protection is inviting proposals for wetland restoration, enhancement, and creation projects to include provisions for climate change, flood protection, resiliency and to improve wildlife habitat.

Beginning May 15, 2017, eligible recipients may apply for grant monies for wetland projects. Applicants must describe how the proposed project meets the following criteria:

- Provides restoration of impacted wetlands, enhancement of existing wetlands, or creation of wetland from upland - Provides habitat for wildlife species, including birds, fish and amphibians - Provides water quality benefits - Demonstrates the technical expertise to implement the wetland restoration project - Demonstrates the capacity to maintain and protect the wetland in the future

A copy of the RFP, as well as the Question & Answer Summary and all amendments related to this RFP, can be obtained at the following website: http://www.maine.gov/purchases/venbid/rfp.shtml Proposals are due June 29, 2017 by 4 pm. For more information, please visit Maine DEP's website or contact Bill Longfellow at .



Nominations sought for Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards

Wed, 17 May 2017 15:13:16 EDT

AUGUSTA - The Department of Environmental Protection and Governor Paul R. LePage encourages entities that have gone above and beyond required regulations by implementing innovative practices that have meaningful environmental and economic benefits to apply for the State's environmental excellence awards. This is an opportunity for businesses, nonprofits and public entities to be recognized for their extraordinary work to improve and protect Maine's natural resources.

"Our job creators grow the economy and help steward Maine's natural resources," said Governor LePage. "The Governor's Awards on Environmental Excellence recognize leaders who take innovative approaches to protect our natural resources and strengthen our economy. My Administration was proud to have re-launched these awards to support the entities that not only move our economy forward, but also ensure that our natural resources are here for the enjoyment of future generations."

Nominations are now open for the Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence, which will honor entities that go beyond standard techniques or regulatory requirements to creatively meet environmental challenges or opportunities. The five award categories include: small, medium and large businesses; local, state, federal or tribal entities; and nonprofit organizations.

"Our natural resources are the State of Maine's greatest asset and I believe the state's economy can improve while maintaining our environment," said Commissioner Mercer. "The Environmental Excellence Awards celebrate and encourage those Maine businesses, non-profits and public entities who have successfully balanced both."

Award applicants will be asked to explain how their recent project or program was innovative, collaborative and resulted in measurable and meaningful environmental and economic benefits. Completed Application forms are due to the department by Friday, June 23, 2017.

For more information about the Maine Department of Environmental Protection's Governor's Awards for Environmental Excellence or to download an application, visit http://www.maine.gov/dep/govaward or contact David Madore, Director of Communications, Education and Outreach, at 287-5842 or .



ME DEP Grant Funding Opportunity for Diesel Emission Reduction

Wed, 17 May 2017 15:13:34 EDT

Maine DEP is seeking applications for projects that achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions from older diesel engines and vehicles. Maine DEP is eligible to apply for grant funding through the competitive federal U.S. EPA Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program in accordance with the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA). Project applications include replacing or repowering marine vessels, vehicles and equipment.

In the past Maine DEP has funded over 100 marine repowers through the successful Clean Marine Engine Program and replaced older diesel school buses with new school buses powered by propane and compressed natural gas.

For more information see https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-04/documents/rfp-epa-oar-otaq-17-04.pdf To apply for grant funding please contact Lynne Cayting, Maine DEP at or 207-287-7599.



DEP Meteorologist Receives EPA Award

Wed, 17 May 2017 15:13:44 EDT

Thomas Downs, Chief Meteorologist in the Bureau of Air Quality at Maine DEP, has received the EPA Environmental Merit Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions and continued efforts to address the implementation of significant local, regional, and national ambient air quality programs.

"Without fanfare or recognition, Tom tirelessly provides expert-level technical analyses of air quality data not only for Maine, but also for all the other states in the Ozone Transport Region," said Paul Mercer, DEP Commissioner. "Tom's work provides a consistent approach to this data analysis, making the results much easier to compare and understand." His understanding of complex air quality issues and policy make him an invaluable resource, not only on a local or regional level, but on a national level as well. Because of his attention to detail and high quality standards, much of Tom's work is readily shared among many State and Federal environmental organizations. Mr. Downs was honored by EPA at a ceremony held in Boston on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. For more information about air quality trends, visit DEP's website at http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/ozone/



Air Quality Awareness Week - May 1-5, 2017

Wed, 17 May 2017 15:18:36 EDT

Maine joins states across the nation in recognizing May 1 through May 5 as Air Quality Awareness Week. This year's theme is "Be Air Aware".

Maine DEP forecasts Ozone and Particle Pollution year-round and is available on DEP's website, via toll free hotline, EnviroFlash emails and text messages as well as on Twitter. Forecasts are issued using a color-based Air Quality Index created by EPA. Green - good; Yellow - moderate; orange - unhealthy pollution levels for sensitive people and red - unhealthy pollution levels for all.

Both Ozone and Particle Pollution impact the lungs and heart. Ozone is produced in sunlight from pollutants in the air while Particle Pollution consists of direct emissions of pollution in addition to being created by chemical reactions in a polluted air mass. Maine's ozone season runs from late March to September while particle pollution levels are higher mostly during the summer and winter months.

Maine enjoys some of the best air quality in the nation with most air quality issues resulting from polluted air being transported into the state. DEP urges everyone to take steps to reduce emissions that contribute to the formation of ozone:

- Conserve electricity - Choose a cleaner commute by carpooling or using public transportation where available - Combine errands, reduce trips - Defer the use of gas powered lawn and garden equipment until after dusk - Limit idling - Refuel vehicles after dusk - Use environmentally friendly paints and cleaning products

For more information about Air Quality visit Maine DEP's website at http://www.maine.gov/dep/air/index.html or follow air quality by region on Twitter at:

**Acadia-MaineDEP** https://twitter.com/MEair_Acadia

**Portland-MaineDEP** https://twitter.com/MEair_Portland

**Lewiston-MaineDEP** https://twitter.com/MEair_Lewiston

**Bangor-MaineDEP** https://twitter.com/MEair_Bangor



DEP Notifies Third Round Recipients of Grants for Culvert Upgrades

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 11:21:02 EDT

(AUGUSTA) In November, 2014, Maine voters passed the Clean Water for Maine bond. As a result, $5,400,000 in funds was earmarked for vital improvement projects including stream crossing and culvert upgrades. The projects awarded will: benefit public infrastructure by replacing several culverts that are currently failing and at risk of complete washouts, open up fish spawning habitat, eliminate undersized and other impassable culverts and reduce some of the worst ongoing erosion impacts to streams, brooks, and lakes.

The DEP received 53 applications to review which totaled over 4.1 million dollars in fund requests, the Department has issued over 2.2 million dollars in grant money through this third and final round of applications.

Three rounds of culvert grants have resulted in a total of 72 culvert upgrade projects in Maine communities statewide and have expended all the bond funds earmarked for these infrastructure improvements.

Maine DEP is pleased to announce funds for the following 28 projects across the State:

* Mattawamkeag River Road $95,000 * Porter Kennard Hill Road $70,000 * Brunswick Hacker Road $88,500 * Chub Cove Road Association (Cooper) $40,000 * Dayton Buzzell Road $95,000 * Porter Sarah Bridge Road $60,000 * Auburn Hotel Road $95,000 * Monmouth Sanborn Road $90,000 * Willimantic Wilson Stream Road $50,000 * York Cider Hill Road $95,000 * Durham Auburn Pownal Road $95,000 * West Bath Sabino Road $95,000 * Durham Auburn-Pownal Road $95,000 * Cumberland Mill Road $47,500 * Wade Gardner Creek Road $95,000 * Yarmouth Ledge Road $95,000 * Buckfield Shedd Hollow Road $95,000 * Chelsea Nelson Road $95,000 * Pittston Parker Road $95,000 * Phillips Bridge Street $95,000 * Grand Lake Stream Water Street $25,000 * Madison Shusta Road $65,000 * China Pleasant View Ridge Road $95,000 * Farmington Front Street $75,000 * Warren Sandy Shores Road $95,000 * Hallowell Outer Central Street $95,000 * Orono Main Street $42,209.82 * Rockland Thompson Meadow Road $42,209.82

For more information including examples of successful applications and the master score sheet for this round please visit Maine [DEPs website](http://www.maine.gov/dep/land/water_bond_rfp.html)