DEP probes violations at Thomaston-area transfer station

Posted May 22, 2014, at 11:54 a.m.

THOMASTON, Maine — The manager of the Thomaston-area solid waste cooperative said he is frustrated with the state’s claims that the facility violated several environmental regulations, including by dumping wastewater into a brook and wetlands.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection issued a report to the cooperative last month following an April 16 inspection by an agency official. Transfer station manager Peter Lammert said Wednesday that the DEP told him it would request a meeting of the cooperative’s board to discuss the findings.

No penalties have been assessed. Jessamine Logan, communications director for the DEP, said the department had no comment at this point as the investigation continues.

The inspection was prompted by an anonymous complaint that accused transfer station manager Peter Lammert of pumping water from two storage tanks into the brook and adjacent wetlands, according to the report by William Butler of the DEP’s solid waste management division.

Lammert said Wednesday that he did not pump the water directly into the brook but instead on top of a berm that is near the wetlands and brook. He insisted, however, that the action did not threaten the environment.

“If I thought for one minute that this would harm the environment, I would not have done it,” Lammert said.

He said one storage tank is under the container where residential and commercial trash is disposed. The tank collects liquids that seep out of the trash container as well as some rainwater. The second storage tank contained only rainwater, he said.

Lammert said that after he pumped the water out of the tanks he noticed no solid wastes on the berm.

Butler’s inspection report also noted other violations at the transfer station that serves the communities of Thomaston, South Thomaston, and Owls Head.

One issue concerned a collection of dozens of old, rusted bicycles, tricycles and cycle parts that are strewn along the edge of the facility and the brook.

Lammert said this junk has been there since the cooperative purchased the property in 1983. He said the DEP has inspected the facility each year since and never previously cited the cooperative for that issue.

The brook runs from across Route 1, passes by the transfer station on Buttermilk Lane, and ends up at the Weskeag Marsh. The DEP classifies that marsh as a protected wetland.

The transfer station has agreed to have Interstate Septic remove liquid wastes from the storage tanks from now on, Lammert said. He said he has not agreed to remove the bicycles.

 

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