State says Massachusetts firm will turn Warren wastes into jobs

This is one of the piles of fiber material stored on 70 acres in Warren at a former rifle range.
Stephen Betts
This is one of the piles of fiber material stored on 70 acres in Warren at a former rifle range. Buy Photo
Posted Oct. 28, 2013, at 5:56 p.m.

WARREN, Maine — A Massachusetts firm has been awarded a contract by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to recycle 27,000 tons of fiber materials that has been stored in Warren for 14 years.

The contract award to Triumvirate Environmental Inc. of Somerville, Mass., will result in the creation of eight to 16 jobs in Warren where the wastes will be processed, according to state officials. The end product of the wastes will be composite lumber.

Triumvirate submitted a proposal to set up a processing facility on site in a high tech, enclosed structure, according to a DEP press release issued Monday. Triumvirate’s bid proposal indicated it would create a minimum of eight new jobs with a high of 16 when in full production mode. These numbers do not include additional indirect jobs, the release stated.

Triumvirate plans to process the entire 27,000 tons of fiber into finished product by the end of December 2016. Mike Farrell, the Triumvirate disposal coordinator who will manage the project, has over 13 years of environmental industry experience and a bachelor’s degree in environmental science degree from Unity College.

“After visiting the Town of Warren and listening to their concerns, I tasked the department with coming up with a sustainable solution because putting the fiber in a landfill was not an option,” Patricia Aho, Maine DEP Commissioner, said in the release. “The department sought innovative solutions, and Triumvirate Environmental delivered. Their proposal to turn the fiber into a composite lumber is truly a prime example of how to beneficially use materials. I’m also pleased that because of DEP actions, the Town of Warren will finally have this property cleaned up so it can be put back into productive use.”

Four companies submitted proposals in September to the DEP.

The other bidders were from the University of Maine, S.J. Clisham of Winterport, and Farley & Sons Landscaping of Rockport.

The DEP has been working on ways to get rid of the material since it was dumped at the former rifle range property off Route 90 in the late 1990s.

The 70-acre site in Warren had been the home of the former R.D. Outfitters rifle range. When the owner of that facility brought in the material during the late 1990s, he said it was to be used as berms to stop bullets from going off the property. But opponents questioned whether he was simply using the property as an unlicensed dump to make money by accepting material from the former Gates Formed Fibre of Auburn.

The DEP estimated that the rifle range owner — Steamship Navigation, whose principals were Randy and Cathy Dunican — received $1 million to have the fiber wastes dumped on their property.

The DEP ultimately went to court to take control of the site after Steamship said it had no money to complete the berm project, which would have consisted of covering the fiber with dirt. The DEP went to court and received $410,000 from the former owner to assist in with cleanup costs.

The material is considered hazardous because it is highly flammable and difficult to put out if ignited. The town of Warren has been working for the past 14 years to get the material covered or removed.

The town has declined for more than a decade to foreclose on the property even though the owner has not paid property taxes. Town officials have been fearful of taking over the property and being liable for any damages caused by the wastes on site.

The town is asking residents to vote on Nov. 7 at a special town meeting to waive foreclosure, this time for unpaid 2011 property taxes.

Earlier this month, the neighboring town of Thomaston expressed concerns about what the DEP was planning to do with the wastes, particularly if it was going to be transported into town for Dragon.

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