Orrington selectmen discuss Mallinckrodt cleanup

Posted Aug. 23, 2010, at 10:37 p.m.

ORRINGTON, Maine — Town officials discussed the former HoltraChem factory behind closed doors Monday, then left the executive session and voted to allow Town Manager Paul White to continue negotiations with the company paying for the site’s cleanup.

The Maine Board of Environmental Protection decided last week to require St. Louis-based Mallinckrodt Inc., which owned and operated a chemical plant at the site from 1967 to 1982, to remove two large landfills blamed for leaching massive quantities of mercury into the Penobscot River. The BEP order allows three other landfills to be left on-site, but requires continued monitoring.

The town owns the land through tax delinquency and Mallinckrodt is responsible for the cleanup.

While the BEP discussed the scope of the cleanup, town officials endorsed Mallinckrodt’s proposed cleanup plan, with conditions that the company buy the landfills and other contaminated areas, pay for future onsite treatment and maintenance costs, and add infrastructure such as water lines and roads.

The company, in a letter presented to town leaders April 12, formally agreed to the conditions.

The negotiations between White and company officials will be to complete “the terms that we have authorized,” the selectmen’s order states.

Once the BEP order was announced, Mallinckrodt officials responded by saying they plan to begin cleanup work as soon as possible on the most polluted parts of the riverfront site, but also said they are considering appealing aspects of the order dealing with the removal of Landfill 2.

During Monday’s meeting, the board also:

- Purchased a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria police cruiser for $22,811, which will be fitted with low-profile police lights in the grill and rear window. The cruiser is scheduled to be delivered the first week of September.

- Decided not the fix the town’s old road grader and directed White to look into replacing the machine with something newer that doesn’t exceed the $135,000 set aside for a grader in the town’s reserve account.

- Discussed a marijuana moratorium that would cover dispensaries and cultivation facilities, and decided to discuss the matter with planning board members to see if the town’s land use code needs to be adjusted. “Unless you feel threatened or at risk there is no reason for a moratorium,” town attorney Edmond Bearor said, adding that a town meeting would be required.

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