WILTON — A few residents gathered Tuesday to hear about the next steps needed for work at the site of the former Forster Manufacturing mill on Depot Street.

It was the first public meeting of several to be held, said Nick Sabatine of Ransom Consulting Engineers and Scientists from Portland, environmental consultants hired to advise the town through the asbestos abatement and demolition of the mill.

As part of the $200,000 federal Brownfields grant received from the Environmental Protection Agency, public participation is needed, he said. 

Tuesday was the start of a 30-day public comment period. An Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives will be available at the Town Office until Aug. 18 for the public to review and make comments, he said.

The document reviews the assessments already done, the findings and proposed remedial plan options.

“There’s been a lot of work done behind the scenes,” Jaime Madore of Ransom Consulting said.

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The work included a two-phase assessment to identify contamination areas and propose remedial options. 

Some asbestos abatement work in the boiler room and hazardous liquid removal from the site was done this spring. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection provided funding from the federal Environmental Protection Agency for the work.

Last month, voters approved applying for up to $300,000 in a no-interest federal loan for the project, Town Manager Rhonda Irish said. She was recently told that only $200,000 would be available for the town to borrow. Another project needed more funding and was ready to begin, she said.

The town has a $200,000 grant, the $200,000 loan and has saved $100,000, to continue as much work as can be done, Sabatine said.

Once the 30-day public input period is over, Madore will create an engineering design for the work, which will then go out to bid.

Contractors will determine how the work is done, he said.

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A person who lives near the site said she was concerned about airborne dust during the demolition process. Sabatine reassured her that people from the DEP, EPA and Ransom would oversee the work.

“It is part of our job and DEP’s job to ensure the contractors do it properly,” he said. “There will be a meticulous approach, not a wrecking ball.”

The next public meeting will involve the contractor who can answer specific questions about demolition, Sabatine said.

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Forster Mill site

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