The Salt Series: A Rising City Where the Water Falls by Chloé Crettin

by Chloé Crettin
December 31, 2012


Once a prolific mill town in Maine, Biddeford is currently home to a centrally located waste-to-energy plant, Maine Energy Recovery Company (MERC). According to city officials, this facility has branded Biddeford a “trash town” due to the nature of its operations–a reputation that bleeds into the minds and attitudes of those near it. Biddeford’s identity continues to be shaped and reshaped by industry.

Recently, following prolonged negotiations and much dispute, the city of Biddeford has signed a contract to purchase MERC and the 8.4 acres that houses the facility. City officials hope that this $6.65 million deal will bring a new wave of entrepreneurial stockholders to the town once the plant is removed.

“A Rising City Where the Water Falls” reflects the thoughts of a MERC worker facing the final hours of his employment. The waste-to-energy plant will be shut down at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, 2012.

This piece was produced at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine.


Graduating in 2011, Chloé Crettien studied Environmental Science along with Creative and Fine Arts at the University of New England. With a passion for photography and environmental issues, Crettien continued her education at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine. There, she was able to focus on projects that relate human activities to the local environment as a living space. Crettien plans to continue photographing within the context of people and their relationship with the environment.