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DES: Candia's Incinerator ash is solid waste

Union Leader Correspondent

August 08. 2013 10:28PM

CANDIA — The state Department of Environmental Services has informed the Board of Selectmen that unless further testing shows otherwise, thousands of pounds of ash at the town’s closed incinerator site will be classified as solid waste and will have to be removed.

Board Chairman Frederick Kelley said fellow board member Amanda Soares is running point on the issue, but acknowledged that previous tests by the Stantec consulting company on behalf of the town have shown that the ash is solid waste.

“It is a big issue for the town, and I am working on it. It is a process,” Soares said.

Despite the letter from the DES saying that unless further testing shows the ash to be a hazardous waste, it will be classified as a solid waste and will have to be removed, Soares said she is still unsure if the ash will be removed.

“At this point, I won’t speculate if removing the ash is the most likely option. If it has to be removed it will be expensive, but I don’t have any idea yet,” Soares said.

Selectman Dick Snow, who Kelley has accused of overdramatizing the ash situation, said that while he hasn’t seen the letter, its contents appear to fall in line with everything he has said regarding the ash site.

Snow added that if further tests on the ash show it is hazardous waste and not solid waste, it will be a disaster for the town.

“If any tests show the ash to be hazardous waste, that is a totally different ballpark. If it’s hazardous we are in trouble, big trouble. It could result in the EPA coming in and declaring it a Superfund site, and we don’t want that,” Snow said.

Even if tests continue to show that the ash is solid waste and not hazardous, it will be still be expensive, Snow said.

“With only two landfills in the state that can take solid waste, and with Stantec estimating we have 5,000 tons of it, and the cost to dispose of it roughly $100 per ton, we are looking at a $500,000 price tag. It’s simple math,” Snow said.

Soares said the issue of the letter or the ash would not be taken up at the next selectmen’s meeting, as she needs more time to come up with all possible options.

“I haven’t come to all my options yet so I am not saying what the most likely outcome will be,” Soares said.

The letter from the DES was sent by Waste Management Specialist Douglas Kemp, and was written in response to a report on the ash prepared by Stantec in June. The purpose of the report was to estimate the amount of ash at the old landfill and to characterize the ash.

The ash became an issue roughly 10 years ago, when Candia residents voted to close the old incinerator site and open a recycling plant, which went online about five years ago. While the buildings at the old incinerator site have been removed, the ash remains.

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