DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Selectmen approved an access plan Monday for contractors to reach the sludge lagoons on the Brown’s Mill property.
The town has approved an abatement project that will consolidate sludge from pits at the former tannery property elsewhere on the property. The town has $600,000 in brownfields grants to pay for the clean-up project.
Selectmen and a few neighbors of the property were told that about 2 acres would be cleared so the sludge could be removed from certain pits and relocated to other pits that will be covered by geo-textile material and earth. Bids will be solicited by the end of next week for a contractor to clear the identified property likely in November. The earth work, which also will go out to bid, is expected to begin in the spring.
The EPA considers the project an important one because of the threat of contact from the hazardous materials and the location of the sludge within the flood plain of the Piscataquis River.
Despite the hazardous materials on the site, residents in the area have used the property over the years for recreation.
“I think it’s hard for people who have lived with this for 40 years, there’s been no alarm about you mustn’t walk there or don’t go skiing there or whatever, so for 40 years people have been using this lovely wooded area and now all of a sudden because there’s some funding, it’s become an emergency,” Selectwoman Cindy Freeman Cyr said Monday.
The funding came after the hazard was identified, Brian Beneski of the Department of Environmental Protection told selectmen Monday.
Once the project is completed, town officials have been told that the property could be used for walking, a boat launch and a picnic area. The town would be expected to maintain the property.
Selectmen also were notified that North View Partners LP has asked MaineHousing to assist in the development of senior housing on the former bowling alley property. The partners plan to create 24 one-bedroom apartments for seniors. The estimated tenant rents after construction will be $650.
Only two bids were received for the clean-up of Central Hall and neither of the bids were satisfactory in price, Selectman Elwood Edgerly said. He recommended, and the board agreed, to reject the bids, regroup and re-evaluate the project. Edgerly said the town could do some of the preparation work to get ready for the asbestos abatement process in an effort to reduce the cost. Bids for the project will be solicited again early next year.