Debris not violation: State official

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BENNINGTON — A stockpile of material left over from the construction of a new salt shed on Bowen Road is not a violation of waste management rules, a state environmental regulator says.

That conclusion was sent via email Friday by James "Buzz" Surwilo of the state's Solid Waste Management Program to Town Manager Stuart Hurd.

The pile does not require written approval because it is there temporarily, Surwilo wrote.

The pile is mostly made up of soil in addition to some concrete. It's located off of Bowen Road near the Roaring Branch of the Walloomsac. It's near the former Jard superfund site, which the town owns.

It was an issue stemming from the new 80-by-80 foot structure for sand and salt storage, adjacent to a building renovated to house the town's Department of Public Works. Hurd last month announced he had approved the start of construction for the salt shed before an expected wetlands work permit was received from the state. The Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating.

Resident Joey Kulkin, at a public hearing on a proposed mayor for Bennington the Select Board held on Jan. 29, questioned the appearance of the stockpile.

The material was dug out to build the foundation of the new structure, according to Hurd.

Surwilo wrote that his department's conclusion is conditioned on that the material will be taken to the transfer station when the weather allows, and that it will be "processed for beneficial use on town public works projects."

Hurd read a portion of the email during the Select Board meeting Monday night. He told the Banner on Wednesday that the plan has always been to move the material in the spring.

Voters last March approved a $3.2 million bond to purchase the former Plasan North America site at 78 Bowen Road under a plan to redevelop the building as a new public works facility. Part of that plan was to build a new shed to store sand and salt, road materials that have been kept at an aging facility. That 80-by-80 foot building and a fuel depot was built on an existing parking lot.

The state Agency of Natural Resources issued the wetlands permit on Jan. 3, months after construction began on the salt shed. ANR approval was required because about 60 percent of the structure lies within a 50-foot buffer zone along Furnace Brook and its tributaries. It affects some 7,600 square feet of buffer zone; but no wetland.

Surwilo, in a Feb. 6 email to Hurd, wrote he saw a "regulatory difference in temporary stockpiling versus permanent disposal." He continued: "And I have been involved in a number of situations where solid waste constitutes a portion of a spoils pile." If it's an "incidental amount," the division "generally doesn't exercise discretion."

If the fraction of waste is more substantial, "then we may exert authority, particularly if the waste in question represents a health or environmental threat, and if it is improperly disposed of." Surwilo wrote that, based on photos he reviewed, he "did not view a sizeable fraction of waste within the soil pile."

Ed Damon can be reached at edamon@benningtonbanner.com, at @edamon_banner on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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