PITTSTON — Tests done on the town’s sand supply for this winter showed it’s too fine, falling far short of the town’s specifications.

Questions about the quality of the sand emerged when a contractor quit because of the sand in early November after the first major snowstorm.

Jane Hubert, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, said the town would be sending the contractor who supplied the sand, Road Commissioner Sam Snow, a certified letter Thursday, asking for a response to the problem within 10 days.

Greg Lumbert, from L&L Services, informed the board Nov. 3 that he would be resigning because the sand didn’t allow him to do the job properly. He said the sand wasn’t funneling properly to his plow trucks’ spreaders.

Previous conflicting test results of the sand done by Lumbert and Snow, who was awarded the $31,500 contract to provide the town 3,000 cubic yards of sand, led the board to vote two weeks ago to test the sand.

Board members met with S.W. Cole Engineering Inc., the Augusta engineering firm that tested the sand, on Dec. 1 to oversee collection of the sand.

Lumbert told the board two weeks ago that when he had the sand tested himself, the results showed the sand was too fine and did not meet town specifications.

His test results showed that 16.4 percent of the sand passed through the smallest sieve grating, more than three times the town specification’s limit of 5 percent.

When sand is too fine, it can clump together and form mud or freeze together more easily.

The tests done for the town found the finest grade of the sand made up about 14 percent of the sand-and-salt mixture and about 11 percent of the unsalted sand.

Residents told the board members that they should hold Snow accountable for providing sand that didn’t meet specifications.

Hubert said it might be hard to reach Snow because he has been hospitalized. She didn’t elaborate on his condition.

Frank Monroe, a contractor from Whitefield who has done work for the town in the past, said it’s clear the sand doesn’t meet specifications and needs to be removed from the town’s facility.

Monroe said if it had been he or another contractor, they would have been held responsible for the sand not meeting specifications.

“It’s only fair that Sam Snow is held to them specs. Bottom line,” he said.

Nearly 30 members of the public attended Wednesday’s meeting, many to discuss problems with another snowplow contractor, Topsham-based Goodall Landscaping. They said the contractor has failed to plow and sand the roads properly during every snowstorm so far.

Before the meeting Wednesday, Hubert said there had been numerous complaints about the work done by Goodall Landscaping, especially on Route 194.

Pittston split its snowplowing contract into three routes this year to try to save money.

The board also opened bids for Lumbert’s old route at its meeting Wednesday.

T and L Construction, of Pittston, bid $49,892 for both years of the contract; Frank Monroe Construction, of Whitefield, bid $61,000 for this year and $72,000 for next year; and Jeffrey Ricker, of Pittston, who already has one of the three contracts, bid $61,000 for this year and $67,500 for next.

Lumbert will be paid $4,259 for the portion of the contract he worked, Hubert said. Lumbert won the contract earlier this year to plow 13.5 miles in the town’s east side with a bid of $51,110 for each of the two years.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @paul_koenig


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