A federally funded project to clean up the contaminated site of the former Wilton tannery is moving forward after the town awarded the project bid at $196,367 to a Farmington contractor.

The bid by E.L. Vining & Son is under the $200,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant the town is using to fund the removal of chemicals, deer hide scraps and hazardous debris left inside and around the tannery building near the intersection of Tannery Road and U.S. Route 2.

The project, designed by Ransom Consulting and approved by the EPA, calls for containing and burying the contaminated material on site. Nicholas Sabatine, vice president and senior geologist with Ransom Consulting, said that if the material could be buried there it would save money and avoid taking up space at the landfill.

E.L. Vining did not have a project timeline yet, having just been awarded the bid, but the town has previously set a goal of demolishing the project this summer.

After the demolition, Town Manager Rhonda Irish said the town is not sure yet what the final use will be for the property. She said the town has formed a subcommittee of herself, Selectwoman Tiffany Maiuri and Selectman Tom Saviello to evaluate the options.

She said the town would like to sell the property to a commercial developer.

“Part of the discussion is whether to demolish part or all of the building,” she said.

Sabatine said Wednesday that the contaminants — primarily scraps of leather — will be buried and covered and marked “do not excavate” and then covered by eight inches of fill material and four more inches of loam. He said the scraps are underground throughout the property with some scattered about in plain sight along Wilson Stream.

Sabatine said there has been extensive research and EPA testing done at the former tannery. While there may be unexpected additional contaminants found on site, he said they have the ability and training to respond and safely move and seal the material underground.

“Whenever you do any work in the subsurface, you don’t know what you may encounter,” he said.

E.L. Vining & Son had the lowest price for the project out of four contractors considered by the Wilton selectmen Tuesday. Bids ranged from $196,367 to a $519,985 bid by EnviroVantage, a New Hampshire based contractor with a Maine branch in Westbrook.

The grant is from the EPA Brownfields program, which provides money for decontaminating sites nationwide so they can be reused. Aside from the grant, selectmen are considering whether they want to fully or partially demolish the building on site. The partial demolition would involved removing a collapsing roof while the full demolition would involve the entire structure.

The lowest bid for the full demolition was a $89,700 bid by Cousineau, an East Wilton general contracting company. The lowest bid was for the partial demolition was a $38,000 bid by EnviroVantage.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252 |

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