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November 05. 2013 9:30PM

Outside investigator hired to probe Auburn dumping

AUBURN — Selectmen voted Monday to hire an outside investigator to find out who dumped thousands of pounds of solid waste into the closed landfill off Raymond Road last month.

Rene LaBranche, of Stantec Consulting Services, said that along with tires and metal, dumped materials included parts of computer monitors, a microwave, a washing machine, a lawn mower and furniture.

“In light of the information provided, I would like to move that board (hire an investigator) through the town council to conduct an internal personnel investigation to determine if the town road agent, or any town employee or official was involved, authorized or had any knowledge of the burying of solid waste, (at the old landfill),” Selectmen James Headd said.

Michael Dross, who has been road agent since 2006, is under investigation by the state Department of Environmental Services, County Attorney’s Office and the local police department.

A tip detailing the dumping was given to police several months ago, kick-starting the investigation.

Dross’s daughter, Jill Dross, attended the meeting and asked why other specific allegations of dumping aren’t investigated with the same level of intensity as the old dump.

Auburn Police Officer and Auburn resident Greg Santuccio said that police investigate all claims of dumping.

“What we are talking about with the old landfill is a locked facility and heavy equipment used to dig a 15-foot hole to bury (thousands of pounds) of solid waste. Only one or two people could be responsible for that,” Santuccio said.

Several residents asked what steps the board will take to replace Dross should he be charged with a crime or found to be responsible. Chairman Russell Sullivan said that it was too early in the process to even begin considering replacing Dross.

“We will deal with it if that happens, but we’re definitely not going to even talk about that (so early in the process),” Sullivan said.

Road paving tests

LaBranche also presented the board with the results from testing on Eaton Hill Road. Stantec was hired to investigate allegations that the road was paved under Dross’ supervision using incinerator ash.

LaBranche told that board that despite one of the eight test samples showing arsenic levels slightly higher than the state standard, there was no evidence that the road was paved using ash.

bklein@unionleader.com


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