Mallinckrodt meeting slated in Orrington

Posted March 11, 2010, at 10:28 p.m.

ORRINGTON, Maine — Mallinckrodt officials, who are waiting to hear from the Maine Board of Environmental Protection about how extensive their cleanup of the former HoltraChem site will need to be, have asked for a special public meeting, Town Manager Paul White has announced.

The public session is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 17 at Center Drive School.

“It’s basically an information meeting,” White said. “They will take questions from the general public about what they plan.”

The St. Louis-based company operated a chemical factory at the former HoltraChem site until 2000, and is fighting an order from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to remove 360,000 tons of contaminated soil that now rest in five outdated landfills on the Penobscot River site.

Mallinckrodt officials are suggesting removing 73,200 tons of contaminated soils from the main polluter — Landfill 1 — and other contaminated areas that would equal about half the amount the DEP wants gone. They’re also proposing recapping Landfill 2 and leaving the other three landfills untouched on-site.

The DEP plan would cost Mallinckrodt, which already has spent around $40 million removing hazardous mercury and other remnants of the former chemical factory, between $200 million and $250 million and would take five to six years, Commissioner David Littell has said.

A brochure distributed by Mallinckrodt to residents, however, says the intensive cleanup would “take up to 12 years to implement [after appeals, planning and permits].”

Mallinckrodt’s plan would cost between $95 million and $100 million and take about five years, JoAnna Schooler, company spokeswoman, has said.

The Maine Board of Environmental Protection, which has the final say in deciding the scope of the cleanup, held two weeks of hearings on the cleanup in late January and early February, and is expected to make a decision in the next couple of months.

White said he doesn’t expect a decision from the BEP until June.

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