Oxford Aviation hazardous waste cleaned up, commissioners told

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PARIS — All bulk hazardous waste was removed from the former Oxford Aviation facility this week, Oxford County commissioners were told.

On Tuesday, Glen Holmes, executive director of the Western Maine Economic Development Council, handed the commissioners a bill for $27,737 to pay for the consolidation and removal of hazardous waste.

The two-day process to bag and remove thousands of gallons of chemical compounds and paint used in the aircraft refinishing business was completed Monday.

The doors of Oxford Aviation at the Oxford County Regional Airport on Number Six Road in Oxford were locked by the county earlier this year.

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The business was served a two-day notice of eviction on April 1 after 25 years of leasing the building from the county. The writ of possession was the culmination of a six-month legal battle between the company and commissioners. The writ gave former owner Jim Horowitz 48 hours to remove the company’s possessions and vacate the 40,000-square-foot building.

Thousands of gallons of chemical compounds and paint were left behind before the facility’s doors were locked by the county. The chemical compounds in 55-gallon drums and paints were inventoried and stabilized.

Holmes said the two-day process removed bulk waste, including paint cans, aerosols, chemical compounds and nitric acid, which was foaming when the can was opened.

“No one expected that,” Holmes said.

Holmes said the environmental crew went from top to bottom in the facility to ensure nothing was left behind.

Universal wastes such as light bulbs and personal computers were retained for possible resale.

“At this point, we believe there are no hazardous bulk materials,” Holmes said.

He said the county is waiting for test results from a sample taken on a ceiling fan that could determine whether any other contamination exists in the building.

“If the test if OK, the potential is that we would be able to do nothing more. We could argue there is no contamination,” Holmes told the commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting. “If we had to do further cleanup it could be very, very expensive.”

Further contaminants, if any, would most likely be found in the walls and concrete floors of the facility which could be costly to remove, he said.

The Department of Environmental Protection may allow the county to lease the facility without completion of a hazardous waste closure plan, if the facility continues to be used in a similar manner, Holmes said.

While the airport runway is still open, aviators have not been able to fuel up at the facility. Oxford Aviation held the fuel system as part of the lease with the company.

County Administrator Scott Cole told commissioners Tuesday that the fuel system has been repaired and fuel ordered.

He said cleanup of brush and stumps continues and plans are being made to remove the Oxford Aviation signage.

The county is also expected to survey the property and place pins on the boundary lines that were never put in place.

Next year’s proposed $65,000 airport budget was submitted to the commissioners Tuesday night. It is $10,000 less than this year’s budget.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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