Canton dam project gets another financial boost

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CANTON — The town will receive federal money to pay for assessing an old tannery site where a new dam is planned at the outlet of Lake Anasagunticook, it was announced Monday night.

Malcolm Ray, chairman of the Dam Core Committee that has been planning the dam construction, told the committee that the money will come from the federal Environmental Protection Agency through the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The funding  is from the federal Brownfields program, which encourages redevelopment of properties that may be contaminated by hazardous substances.

The new dam is proposed for Whitney Brook, which runs out of the northeast corner of the lake. It will upstream and replace a dilapidated dam the town took by eminent domain after the owner failed to repair it. That old structure will be removed, once the new dam is in place.

Phase one of the site assessment will be gathering the historical data to decide if tannery operations could have caused site contamination. Phase two will be taking soil samples for evaluation. If contaminants are found, then phase three would be replacing the soil.

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State environmental officials and town officers will walk the site at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The town has applied for a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant, which requires an environmental assessment be done.

In other news Monday, committee member Judy Hamilton said she had been informed that Canton would receive the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments Planning Award for its work on the dam. The award ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 14, at Martindale Country Club in Auburn.

The next committee meeting will be Monday, April 19.

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