NORWAY – A local redevelopment agency plans to rid the old C.B. Cummings Mill of asbestos as soon as it has heard concerns from neighbors and others about the cleanup process.

Last May, a Western Maine Development affiliate, Downtown Revitalization Corp., received $68,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency to remove asbestos in the former wood dowel mill before demolishing it. As part of the grant, the organization must make itself available to hear public comments for one month before the removal begins.

The mill property in downtown Norway belongs to Western Maine Development, which is a subsidiary of EnterpriseMaine.

Mary Boughter, vice president of Western Maine Development, said people may contact her office or visit to review the cleanup plan anytime before Oct. 13.

“With asbestos, you have to abide by Maine law to remove it,” she said. The procedure, which in this case will extract asbestos from the mill’s piping insulation and walls, is regulated by the state to ensure safety, she said.

Joe Ferrari, a regional project manager for the federal Environmental Protection Agency Brownfield Program responsible for the grant, said if invisible asbestos fibers are released into the air, it could create breathing problems. With repeated exposure to the construction material, people can also develop cancer or lung scarring.

Ferrari said Western Maine Development must adhere to Maine law regarding asbestos and hire a licensed asbestos remover. Boughter said Statewide Asbestos Removal, a certified organization, is contracted for the job.

And soon as it is safe to do so, Downtown Revitalization Corp. will hire a company to level the buildings on the property, Boughter said.

After the demolition, Boughter said a company owned in part by the philanthropic organization Libra Foundation of Portland is expected to finalize its purchase of the 4.5-acre site for $300,000.

Norway Properties Inc, an independent, for-profit company, plans to convert the site into residential and business condos, Boughter said.

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