Hearing to address environmental concerns on 2 Dover-Foxcroft mills

Posted Jan. 02, 2011, at 9:06 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 05, 2011, at 7:24 p.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Alternatives and remedial action plans for the proposed cleanup of two mill properties where hazardous materials have been identified will be the topic of a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5, at the Dover-Foxcroft Municipal Building.

The discussion will focus on analyses done by Ransom Environmental Consultants Inc. of Portland at the former Moosehead Manufacturing Co. plant, outbuildings at 5 Main St. and the former Maine Leathers plant, also known as Brown’s Mills, on Vaughn Street.

The Moosehead plant, which operated as a woolen mill in the late 1800s until the mid-1950s and then was converted by Moosehead Manufacturing Co. into a furniture-making plant, is being eyed for development by the Arnold Development Group of Kansas City, Mo.

Hazardous materials identified in the Moosehead plant were asbestos, lead-based paint, universal waste, mold-contaminated building materials and bird droppings.

The consultants identified three remedial alternatives for the property: take no action; an “operations and maintenance” alternative; and an “abatement-removal” option. The latter was recommended because it best protects health and the environment and is practical, according to the consultants.

The former Maine Leathers property consists of two separate parcels. Charles Fitzgerald and Bethanne Ragaglia own Brown’s Mill, which consists of about 6 acres. Charles MacArthur owns approximately 36 acres to the east of the mill.

The consultants and previous studies found contaminated sludge in and around sludge pits and lagoons on the eastern portion of the property. Three options were identified for remedial action by Ransom: Take no action; remove impacted soil with offsite disposal at an approved landfill; or consolidate and cap waste on-site. The latter alternative is considered the best option by the consultants.

The hazardous wastes identified on the Maine Leathers site include leather waste products and lead, but those contaminants are not migrating from the sludge to the groundwater and toward the adjacent Piscataquis River, according to the consultants. They did note, however, that the sludge located in the pits adjacent to the river reach the river through erosion, given that these areas are located within a 100-year flood plain.

The public is encouraged to attend and learn more about the two projects and to comment.

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