Salt Alternatives, Superfund Site Discussed at Monday BOS Meeting

Check back later Tuesday for more coverage.

The Wilmington Board of Selectmen heard a number of presentations on Monday night during a meeting that lasted nearly two hours. 

Among those in attendance were representatives of the town’s Department of Public Works, Water & Sewer and Health Department to update selectmen on the process of reducing the amount of salt used to treat roads during the winter.

The reason for the change is that there have been .

As a part of phase one the DPW will continue to use salt as its primary road, treatment but will begin to use a mixture of magnesium chloride and agricultural by-product. The advantage of the new mixture is it is safer for plants and animals, is less corrosive, is more effective at lower temperatures and it has a greater melting capacity than salt.

The downside to magnesium chloride is that it is more expensive than salt. The DPW will be looking at additional equipment purchases over upcoming years, and training the staff to use the new mixture.

“It’s something we’ve been working on for a while,” said Superintendent of Public Works Don Onusseit. “We tried the product about five years ago with limited success. Communities we’ve been speaking to have really been quite happy with it.”

Several environmental officials were next on the agenda to discuss the Olin Chemical Superfund Site in advance of a public forum scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 30 at .

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency representative James DiLorenzo said the group is in its second year of field investigation of the superfund site, monitoring about 130 wells around town.

Just one of the sites tested over the recommended limit of nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a residential area of Cook Ave. Olin Chemical was required to provide two families with bottled water as a result of that test.

Overall, the samples collected over the last two years are being analyzed currently, and DiLorenzo said he expects results soon. In addition, two pilot extraction wells will be built potentially by spring or summer, which will give the EPA an idea of how effective various pumping systems are in removing oil from the area.

“We’re not quite at the threshold on pulling the trigger on action,” said DiLorenzo. “If the levels remain where they are or decrease, there may not be any further action besides continuing to monitor them.”

Following the regular business at the agenda, the board again , who asked questions to members before he was asked to sit down. The resident was not physically removed from this meeting, but was escorted out by a pair of police officers after more than 10 minutes of debate.

During the exchange, Michael Newhouse pointedly addressed MacDonald, who brought a kitchen timer in response to the changes to the public comments section that were approved last meeting.

“What you try to pass off as freedom of speech is nothing but harassment,” said Newhouse. Fellow selectman Michael Champoux called MacDonald’s recent appearances at meetings “a charade” and “a mockery” of the sessions.

For additional coverage of Monday’s meeting, including an update on the Panera Bread opening in town and the Fire Department’s recent grant win, check back Tuesday afternoon.


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