ELLSWORTH — Public comment is being sought on how the city should spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in water protection funding.
The city is set to receive $500,000 from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which can be used for the “protection and improvement of local water resources,” according to the state agency.
According to DEP, the funding is “compensation for groundwater pollution arising from the discharge of contaminants” at an old waste oil handling facility located off of Route 1A.
The Portland-Bangor Waste Oil facility operated there from 1965 to 1980, and DEP found in 1989 that the company’s operations “had released polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), solvents and waste oil that contaminated soil, the underlying groundwater aquifer and area drinking water wells.”
DEP estimates 1.73 billion gallons of groundwater is contaminated by discharges from the site, located off of Bangor Road a short distance north of the Christian Ridge Road.
Ellsworth can use the money in different ways, including upgrading septic systems, conserving land to protect water resources or upgrading home heating oil tanks.
A public meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24, in Council Chambers at Ellsworth City Hall to receive comments on a draft plan for disbursement of the $500,000.