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Locations of Gas Plants and Other Coal-tar Sites in the U.S.

THE STATE OF MAINE

Introduction

            Maine received its first manufactured gas in 1849, at Portland. Throughout its history of manufactured gas most of vast timberlands of the State had no gas service at all. In 1953, near the end of manufactured gas, such was being supplied only in three counties, Androscoggin, Cumberland and Penobscot. Prior to its eminence in shipbuilding, Maine’s economy was tied to timber and light industry, as powered by water. Hence, capital for gas works construction was a bit late in arriving, and then largely from Boston, and to a lesser degree, Providence, which were in early and direct communication via coastal shipping and railroads.

            Small-town gas works began to appear about the time of the Centennial (1876). Holding company acquisitions begin about 1913, to include new plants with medium-pressure distribution to surrounding towns. The latter situation was present with the 1914 construction of the “large” Kennebec Gas & Fuel Company plant at Holland Brook, with distribution to Waterville, Fairfield, Winslow, Oakland Vassalboro and Skowhegan. Holding companies appeared shortly  thereafter, with Central Maine Power Co. being in place by 1918.

            Municipal gas never became popular in Maine. The author knows only of a small rash of 1912-1913 municipal gas works takeover attempts at Lisbon Falls, Sanford, Portland and South Portland (sold to the Maine Gas Companies in 1926).

            UGI tried to colonize Maine, beginning in 1893, and including the 1901 purchase of the Bangor Gas Light Co. by the former’s subsidiary, the American Gas Co., of Philadelphia, and by individual investment syndicates backed by UGI officers, such as at Lewiston.

            Oil gas was preferred by the U.S. Navy for its plant at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, at Kittery (Tiffany machine, installed in 1873). Among the types of additional coal-tar sites in Maine, are the ca. 1846 kerosene distillery at Lewiston, the Portland coke ovens (ca. 1900), industrial and municipal services gas producer plants (beginning about 1900), and the usual wood treatment plants to be expected in a timber producing State.

            Site remediation in Maine runs directly into the impacts of the difficult geological combination of highly fractured metamorphic and igneous hardrock bedrock geology and the usual varieties of glacial debris that are found all over the State. Astute geological planning and participation in site and waste characterization in Maine are “musts” in order not to overlook not only “hot spots,” but geologic transport pathways of affinity to the often porous debris of Pleistocene glaciation.

Click the blue "EPA" link below to view the
Maine map of the EPA 1985 Radian FMGP Report.

Click the green "Hatheway" link below to view the
Maine map of Professor Hatheway's research.

Copyright © 2012  by Dr. Allen W. Hatheway    All rights reserved.
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