PERC wins environmental merit award from EPA

May 10, 2016

ORRINGTON — The Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. (PERC), a waste-to-energy facility serving communities in eastern, northern, central and Midcoast Maine, has been selected by the New England Office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to receive an Environmental Merit Award in recognition of its exceptional work and commitment to the environment.

“We take our environmental responsibilities very seriously,” said Henry “Hank” Lang, plant manager. “This award is a credit to our employees who always try to go above and beyond what is required.”

According to the EPA, the Environmental Merit Award is given annually to recognize outstanding environmental advocates who have made significant contributions toward preserving and protecting natural resources.

Lang said PERC is being recognized for its self-initiated zero liquid discharge (ZLD) program that has eliminated any wastewater discharge into the Penobscot River, for its voluntary compliance reporting programs, for repurposing waste heat, and for its energy conservation programs.

PERC is permitted to discharge more than 8 million gallons of treated wastewater per year into the Penobscot, and although the actual amounts of discharge were a fraction of that, PERC made a commitment to take the discharge to zero. The PERC facility now recycles and reuses all of that water in its operations.

“We did this because it was the right thing to do,” Lang said. “As a waste-to-energy plant that turns municipal waste into renewable power, we play an important role in Maine’s solid waste management hierarchy. Our owners and employees share a commitment to make environmental stewardship part of every aspect of our operations.”

Lang said the zero discharge program was a team effort, but noted the special contributions of environmental technician Richard Moran of Verona Island, lab technician Ray Bridges of Prospect, plant operator Greg Bagley of Clifton, shift supervisors Scott Curry of Bangor, Mike Lizzotte of Old Town and Paul Forsing of Hermon and environmental manager Michael Mains of Bar Harbor.

PERC received its award at a special ceremony in Boston on May 10.

( this article was published in the Ellsworth American on May 9, 2016)