FARMINGTON — Whether to change the aging diesel exhaust recovery system used in the fire station to another system and methods of payment were discussed at the Dec. 27 selectmen meeting. No decisions were made.

Fire Chief TD Hardy said the system had been discussed as part of the budget process for the coming year and wanted thoughts from the board. When the system was purchased in 1998 the expense came out of the municipal building budget, he noted.

“The current system is a three hookup, direct capture exhaust system that connects directly to our trucks,” Hardy said. “It doesn’t cover our squad unit. When we bought it the squad was a gasoline unit.”

Parts from Engine I were used when the new truck came in, this year the tower’s unit broke down, Hardy said. Basic repairs would cost about $3,600 and would be a band aid, he noted. It would cost about $24,090 to upgrade the system with newer technology but would not cover the squad, he noted. The current system is manual and must be turned on, he stated. The upgrade would include automatic activation when a truck starts, according to information Hardy provided.

Hardy checked on systems being used in new fire stations in New Sharon and Carrabassett. An Airvac 911 air filtration system similar to what those stations use would cost $31,040, he noted. This system doesn’t hook up to apparatus, activates automatically when a truck enters or leaves a bay, covers all vehicles and can also be used for decontamination after calls, he said.

“One of the big things in the fire service is cancer prevention,” Hardy noted. “Our trucks affect the whole station and the municipal building. With the tower, those two older trucks, you actually notice the exhaust when they start and come in and go out.”


In the 25 years since it was installed, the current system has changed the atmosphere in the town municipal complex for people working in the building and those coming in, Deputy Fire Chief Clyde Ross said. Firefighters are in the building 24 hours a day, the department is mindful of cancer risks and trying to mitigate them, he noted.

Hardy wants something for this issue included in this year’s budget.

It could be budgeted for this year, a way found to pull the cost out of both the fire department and municipal building lines since it would serve both, Selectman Chairman Matthew Smith said.

Selectman Joshua Bell thought it was something that should be done. He asked if there were other companies that offered similar systems and suggested getting more quotes.

In other business, the board approved the addition of a definition table of uses line and performance standards for a homeless shelter in the town’s Zoning Ordinance. The board also voted to include a warrant article for same at the March 27 annual town meeting.

Resident Dennis O’Neil asked if the wording had been changed from what had been presented at a special town meeting in October 2022. The proposed addition couldn’t be approved then after it was determined a required hearing with the Planning Board hadn’t been held.


“The vote [at town meeting] would be for the homeless shelter performance standards as they stand,” Town Manager Christian Waller said. “If anything were to change, the process would have to go back to the Zoning Board and start back up.”

A public hearing will be held on the proposed additions at the Jan. 9 Planning Board meeting.

An update on the project at 325 Farmington Falls Road was also given by Public Works Director Philip Hutchins. That project came about as part of a joint project with Maine Department of Transportation for High Street and the intersection with Falls Road/US Route 2, he said.

Proposed improvements to US Route 2 were to address erosion issues in order to prevent a slope failure, according to information Hutchins provided. Improvements to High Street were projected at $1 million with estimated additional municipal funds of $181,450, while those for the intersection were $50,000 with Farmington’s share of both being $525,000, the information stated.

Hutchins said remaining work would be completed in 2023.

Comments are not available on this story.