CORNVILLE — The C.N. Brown Oil Co. has withdrawn its plans to spread petroleum-contaminated soil on dairy farmland on West Ridge Road.

In an email to several people who have expressed interest in the project, Andrew Flint, an environmental specialist at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, said the oil company will be exploring other options for disposal or treatment.

Flint said he was informed of the change in plans by geologist Michael White, a consultant for C.N. Brown, and passed it on to residents.

“Mike tells me they are looking elsewhere for different options. They have several,” Flint said Friday.

White is away this week and could not be reached for comment. A call placed to C.N Brown offices in South Paris was not returned Friday.

The original plan was to spread 3,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil on pasture land owned by James Strout Jr. The soil was to have come from a former C.N. Brown gas station site next to the Athens Elementary School.

Last summer the DEP approved the location as an agricultural “landfarm” operation and one not requiring a state permit or a license.

White told the Cornville Planning Board in August that approval was based on site analysis, including distances of the site from well water or surface water. Some residents and planners objected, saying the proposal is not farming, but an industrial and commercial use of land that would be subject to a town ordinance.

Cornville Planning Board member Sam Jencks said Friday that nothing has been submitted to the board concerning the project since the matter first was raised in August.

Cornville resident Larry Pike said the town has to enact local rules and regulations to prevent such a plan in the future.

“I am glad to see that C.N. Brown withdrew this site,” Pike said. “The next step for the residents of the town of Cornville is to protect the town from further consideration as a waste site.”

He recommended that residents ask selectmen to draft an ordinance banning future waste sites there.

Strout, whose father, James Strout Sr. unsuccessfully proposed a low-level nuclear waste dump at the farm in 1991, said he intended to go ahead with his plans as agricultural, regardless of what the Planning Board said. He said the town ordinance couldn’t stop him.

On Friday, Strout said he hadn’t heard of the change of plans by C.N. Brown, but wasn’t disappointed.

“There was no initial investment for me up front, so it didn’t make much difference whether it got completed or not,” Strout said. “They did some road improvement here, so I’m kind of ahead.”

Flint said in August that the soil is mildly or lightly contaminated from leaking gasoline tanks dating back to the mid-1980s. The contaminated soil remains in the ground at the former gas station, he said.

The plan was to spread a 6-inch layer on approximately five acres of land.

Wet weather in the fall prevented the project from starting.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

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