WILTON — About 12,000 cubic yards of waste buried at the former Wilton Tannery site has been excavated and moved to an area on the east side of the driveway.

“There was more waste than we anticipated,” Jaime Madore, lead engineer for the project, said Thursday during a tour of the site. “But we were close, estimating about 11,000 cubic yards.”

A low spot was filled in and will be capped and covered, she said.

Madore and Steve Bradstreet of Ransom Environmental Consultants of Portland said the project had gone well. 

The work started Aug. 28 and is expected to be completed by the end of next week, she said. The project is ahead of schedule.

The town expects to put the property out to bid, Town Manager Rhonda Irish said. 

If the building is taken down, the property, from the driveway and west, can be developed, Madore said. The cover system will be safe but cannot be disturbed.

An E. L. Vining & Son crew was contracted to do the excavation on the backside of the tannery. Some dirt was removed from the west side of the property and used for fill. The area will be replanted, she said.

A large field going toward Wilson Stream has been excavated. Materials were found 10 feet deep. The 60,000-square-foot tannery landfill, estimated to be up to 12 feet deep, included leather scraps, barrel staves and other materials used in tanning from the late 1950s to mid 1990s.

It was an odorous process, Madore said.

The bank next to the stream was cleaned and cleared of trees and rocks. It was covered with an erosion-control mat. The bank and field will receive a hydroseeding next week. After loam is put down, the hydroseeding will cover it with a combination of mulch, seed and fertilizer, ensuring that the grass grows quickly, Bradstreet said.

Fortunately, there was land available to store the excavated waste on site, Bradstreet said. To excavate and haul it to a landfill would have been very expensive.

The town took possession of the 15-acre property in 2010 because of unpaid taxes amounting to $74,600.

There were some attempts to use the site for office space and storage, but it was pretty much unusable for the 15 years prior to the date the town took it over.

Wilton received a $200,000 federal EPA grant in 2012 and a total of $187,000 from the Maine DEP and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development to clean up the site for future economic development.

Asbestos and an underground fuel tank were removed last fall.

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