Dover-Foxcroft mill cleanup could cost more than $1 million

Posted Jan. 06, 2011, at 2:31 p.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The hazardous waste cleanup of two Dover-Foxcroft mill properties is pegged to cost more than $1 million.

Only a couple of residents attended a public hearing held by Dover-Foxcroft selectmen Wednesday to hear details of the planned hazardous waste abatement at the former Moosehead Manufacturing Co. plant and the former Maine Leathers property.

Final plans for the projects will be decided after the public comment period ends Jan. 24.

Since the federal Environmental Protection Agency is involved in both projects, a historic review of the properties must be conducted under the National Historic Preservation Act. The act requires the EPA to identify any historic properties that may be affected by operations and to take those historic properties into consideration during permitting.

Ransom Environmental Consultants Inc. of Portland conducted an assessment of the contaminants on both properties. Its work was funded by a grant obtained through the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council.

“That’s kind of how we got to the point of being able to identify these sites, what’s there, and what needs to be done,” Dover-Foxcroft Town Manager Jack Clukey said Wednesday.

The assessment revealed asbestos, lead-based paint, universal waste and mold-contaminated building materials at the former Moosehead plant. The plant, which was tax-acquired and was deeded by the town to Pine Crest Development Corp., is being considered for multiuse development by a Kansas firm.

Maine Department of Environmental Protection officials believe the best option for the former Moosehead plant is the full abatement of asbestos, universal waste and the mold, and a partial abatement of the lead-based paint. Because the lead is in good condition in some areas of the mill, it has been recommended that those areas be encapsulated. The estimated project cost is $520,000, which requires a 20 percent local match.

Clukey said the town was awarded two $200,000 brownfields grants for the Moosehead project. The match will be provided through a Community Development Block Grant, so no local property tax dollars will be needed, according to Clukey.

Bids for the Moosehead work will be solicited in the spring, and the work will begin in the next construction season. At the former Maine Leathers plant, a former woolen mill and tannery, consultants and previous studies found metals in sludge in and around pits and lagoons on the eastern portion of the property along the Piscataquis River. The property where the hazardous materials are located formerly was owned by Charles MacArthur and is now town-owned.

“We’ve assessed it pretty well,” Hank Andolsek, a DEP environmental hydrogeologist, said Wednesday.

Tests have indicated that the lead, the contaminant of concern, has not migrated from the sludge to the groundwater and toward the river, but the DEP believes the material should be removed. Department officials and the consultants believe the most cost-effective option is to dig up the contaminated material and move it to pits farther back on the property, outside of the 100-year flood plain. The material then will be covered so the property can be used by the town. The actual construction on the 3- to 5-acre parcel will take up to three months.

“We just cover it and move on,” Andolsek said.

Former property owner MacArthur, who attended the meeting and who believed bioremediation would be better for the site, said, “I hope you’re right.”

“I believe we are. … It’s an effective measure,” Andolsek replied of the preferred option.

The project is expected to cost about $500,000. The town has been awarded $600,000 in brownfields grants for the project. The town will provide the fill materials as the local match, Clukey said.

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