[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town of Wells as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Burnt Mill Road Soil Vault and Groundwater Protection Ordinance of the Town of Wells, Maine."
The purpose of this article is to protect the health, safety and general welfare of residents of Wells and to assist in remediation of an area in the vicinity of Burnt Mill Road affected by the operations of the former Portland Bangor Waste Oil Company ("company").
Beginning in the 1950's, the company disposed of waste oil sludge and oily water and stored and processed waste oil for use off site on a site adjacent to Burnt Mill Road in Wells. Investigations into the activities of the company identified petroleum-related compounds and other chemicals at levels of concern in the Burnt Mill Road area. To address these concerns, the contaminated soils will be cleaned up and soils will be stabilized and solidified and capped in an on-site soil vault in perpetuity. Clean soils will be brought in to replace the contaminated soils. To protect the public health, groundwater adversely affected by the company's past activities, which may remain affected by chemicals for some time, should not be extracted or used.
This article identifies and establishes two areas subject to restrictions. The first area identified is a certain soil vault area ("SVA") consisting of a portion of the former company property, identified to protect an area of consolidated, treated, and capped soils (the "soil vault"), constructed to contain the soils and prevent human and environmental exposure to the soils. The second area is a larger groundwater protection area ("GPA"), which encompasses the areas of groundwater contamination, to aid in the protection of groundwater and to prevent use of that groundwater.
The SVA is intended to promote remediation and environmental protection by limiting activities that could interfere with the integrity of the soil vault. The GPA protects the environment by prohibiting removal of groundwater and certain other activities that might affect groundwater quality, to prevent exposure to and migration of that groundwater, until such time as groundwater may become potable. The GPA includes only those properties identified during the environmental investigation as having groundwater that was adversely affected by operations of the company. Environmental investigations have shown that groundwater under other properties in the vicinity shows no effects from company operations. If analysis of ongoing test results indicates that contamination is spreading beyond the current GPA, the Town may amend this article to expand the GPA at any Town meeting.
Within the boundaries of the SVA as established by § 122-5A of this article, there shall be no disturbing of the surface soils or the area below the ground surface. Any activities other than those necessary to maintain the vault are prohibited, notwithstanding the provisions of any other Town ordinance, unless specifically allowed by this article. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, erection of structures, building of roads, and paving areas for parking and/or storage. Planting, cultivation and mowing of grass are permitted.
Within the boundaries of the GPA, as established by § 122-5A of this article, no groundwater shall be extracted from the ground except as allowed by this article. Other activities in the GPA that may affect the groundwater quantity or quality are also prohibited by this article. This article shall apply to the area designated as the GPA notwithstanding the provisions of any other Town ordinance.
This article is adopted pursuant to Article VIII-A of the Maine State Constitution and 30-A M.R.S.A. §§ 3001 and 3002.
Prior to amendment or repeal of this article, the Town shall notify the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- All the water found beneath the surface of the ground. In this article the term also includes the slowly moving subsurface water present in aquifers and recharge areas.
SVA and GPA established.
For the purpose of this article, there is hereby established within the Town of Wells a certain soil vault area as depicted on the Wells Plan, entitled "Portland Bangor Waste Oil, Wells Maine, Exhibit A," prepared by TRC, dated July 2001, which is hereby incorporated into this article by reference, and attached as Exhibit A. This SVA is in an area formerly owned by the company and used in its operations. The area depicted as the SVA on Exhibit A may be larger than the area actually constructed as a soil vault. The Board of Selectmen is hereby delegated the authority to refine the boundaries of the SVA by adopting a revised plan in accordance with the following: there shall be notice and a hearing on the proposed boundary change; the SVA boundaries shall be established by a survey, and the survey shall be incorporated into the article; and the area of the SVA may be reduced in size to correspond with the final boundaries of the SVA as constructed but may not be expanded by action of the Selectmen. No other change to the boundaries of the SVA may be accomplished by action of the Selectmen.
For the purpose of this article, there is hereby established within the Town of Wells a certain groundwater protection area as depicted on the Wells Plan, entitled "Portland Bangor Waste Oil, Wells, Maine, Exhibit B," prepared by TRC, dated July 2001, which is hereby incorporated into this article by reference, and attached as Exhibit B. This GPA may be amended from time to time on the basis of ongoing testing and analysis of groundwater. If the State of Maine Department of Environmental Protection certifies that groundwater in a particular area of the GPA meets the state drinking water standards for the petroleum-related compounds and chemicals of concern, this article shall be amended to remove that area from the GPA. If test results indicate that groundwater contamination is spreading into new areas, this article may be amended to enlarge the GPA.
Regulations affecting SVA and GPA.
Within the SVA, these regulations shall apply:
There shall be no disturbance of soils or subsoils, or excavation or construction at or below grade. Maintenance of the soil vault and related appurtenances, including any fences or other barriers, and the cultivation of grass are permitted.
Any activity within the SVA must follow appropriate occupational health and safety measures, as may be required by law, to protect workers against exposure to potential hazardous substances.
Within the GPA, these regulations shall apply:
The drilling for, use or extraction of groundwater by any means or for any purpose, including residential drinking wells, is prohibited except that groundwater may be withdrawn for sampling to assess water quality upon receipt of a permit from the Code Enforcement Officer. A permit shall be issued by the CEO within 14 days after submittal of a map showing the location of the monitoring wells and a description of the testing protocols;
Any activity that would alter a groundwater or surface water table level (other than what would occur naturally) is prohibited, except that a subsurface septic system for a household residence may be constructed and operated in accordance with applicable state and local laws;
Irrigation or watering of nonresidential fields, including playing fields, is permitted upon receipt of a permit from the CEO, who shall issue the permit, provided an off-site water supply is used; and
Typical household activities such as watering lawns or gardens, washing cars, and grading, and/or construction of building additions or new structures in accordance with state and local laws are permitted.
Exempt activities. Activities conducted in accordance with and pursuant to the requirements of the consent decree, Maine v. United States, et al., No. 00-64-B-C (D. Me., entered May 31, 2000), including activities of remedial contractors conducting environmental investigation and cleanup in accordance with and pursuant to that consent decree, are exempt from the requirements of this article.
Notice of permit applications and decisions.
Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer receives an application for a permit to authorize activities requiring a permit under this article, a copy of the application shall be forwarded to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management.
The Town shall provide written notice, of any permit decision by the Code Enforcement Officer allowing or prohibiting any activity occurring in the SVA or the GPA, to the applicant, the owner of the property (if different from the applicant) and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management. Any decision may be appealed to the Zoning Board of Appeals by any person or entity receiving written notice of the decision from the Town, by the owner of any property within either the SVA or the GPA, or by the owner of any property abutting the property on which the activity was proposed within 30 days after the date of the decision. The Zoning Board of Appeals shall have jurisdiction to consider any such appeal as a de novo appeal, following the procedures outlined in 30-A M.R.S.A. § 2691.
The Code Enforcement Officer shall be responsible for enforcing this article.
The Code Enforcement Officer or the municipal officers shall institute or cause to be instituted, in the name of the Town, any and all actions, legal and equitable, that shall be appropriate or necessary for the enforcement of the provisions of this article.
Any person, firm or corporation found to violate any provision of this article or, being the owner or occupant of, or having control over the use of land, on which a violation of any provision of this article is found to occur, shall be guilty of a civil violation and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a civil penalty of not less than $100, and not more than $250. Each day such violation is permitted to exist after notification thereof by the Town shall constitute a separate offense. Such persons shall also be liable for the Town's court costs and reasonable attorneys' fees. Any penalty assessed for violation of this article shall be in addition to any liability for violation of state laws regulating the installation of groundwater extraction systems. (If a person installs a groundwater extraction system without prior approval and that activity alters the groundwater system in such a manner to cause an adverse impact, that person may be held liable, under state law (38 M.R.S.A. § 1361 et seq.), for all costs related to mitigating the impact.)