Jan 14, 2015

Grim(mel) situation: Industrial Polluter forced out of Portsmouth trying to locate in Searsport

Read all about it. A shredded auto exporter is trying to set up an export facility within Sprague Energy's property on Mack Point in Searsport.

But Grimmell Industries has a horrendous record of poisoning the Piscataqua with tainted runoff from its autocrap export dock in Portsmouth, and of repeated fires in its inland Maine auto shredding facility.

Here's the back story and present situation, from CLF  sources and from a number of media sources. It was CLF's successful pressure on EPA  to deal with Grimmel Industries violations at the mouth of the Piscataqua River shared by Baine and New Hampshire, that has brought the company to Searsport

CLF is "cleaning up Industrial Pollution in Portsmouth  
"CLF has been working to eliminate illegal, toxic stormwater pollution from Grimmel Industries’ massive scrap-metal operation located on the banks of the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth.  The  New Hampshire  Pease Development Authority (PDA) last week,  refused to renegotiate a lease with Grimmel, instead requiring the operation to be cleaned up and off the property by the end of this year.

Three Media stories: Republican Journal, Bangor Daily News and Lewiston Sun Journal

BELFAST REPUBLICAN JOURNAL  Jan 7, 2015

Searsport grants junkyard license to Grimmel

SEARSPORT — Selectmen Jan. 7 approved the application of Grimmel Industries LLC to operate a junkyard on leased property from Sprague Energy.
The company will next appear Jan. 12 before the town's Planning Board.
Grimmel General Manager Tim Garrity said steel will be exported through the port to locations around the world. The softball-sized steel will be trucked in from the company's Topsham location and will come from shredded automobiles as well as purchases of scrap from dealers and leftover scraps from Bath Iron Works, he said. The steel will be piled on an existing cement pad before it is loaded for shipping with a grapple.
"There's a little noise but it's nothing special," Garrity said of the operation.
However, noise was a concern mentioned repeatedly by Selectman Meredith Ares. She inquired about the expected decibel level, noting sound travels further over water than land. Selectman Chairman Aaron Fethke said noise is an issue for the Planning Board. Garrity said he did not have decibel levels available but would be happy to provide them if the Planning Board wishes.
Ares was later successful in her bid to limit the hours during which ships are loaded, adding a condition to the license approval that will cease loading vessels at 7 p.m. year-round. While the original application stated loading of vessels could continue until sunset, Garrity accepted the condition as a compromise, he said. Ares noted her concerns are for other tourist-oriented businesses on which evening noise could prove detrimental.
Another concern voiced by Ares and several residents addressed contamination of the property and water. Yardarm Motel owner McCormack Economy said she receives regular complaints from her guests about late-night noise coming from Sprague, despite efforts to block noise.
"I've never complained about this before," Economy said. " ... Noise is a problem."
She also said she is worried about potential issues with dust drifting toward the motel based on reports of dust problems with the company's Portsmouth, N.H., location.
According to previously published reports, Pease Development Authority declined to renew a contract with Grimmel and requested the company cease operations and clean up its 3-acre site on Piscataqua River before the end of 2014.
The development authority and Grimmel originally entered into a contract in Portsmouth in 2002. In 2011, the company was ordered by the Environmental Protection Agency to stop allowing runoff into the river.
According to EPA documents, “ … stormwater discharges from Grimmel's metal scrapyard operation contain metals, suspended solids and chemical oxygen demand which exceed permit benchmarks. Further the stormwater discharges contain mercury and PCBs …” The state of New Hampshire issued a warning to limit consumption of salt water fish as well as lobster, according to the EPA.
Several residents spoke to environmental concerns, again citing reports and EPA fines against the company.
"If it happens here, what is the remedy?" asked resident Peter Tabor.
Garrity said the company was not fully responsible for contamination of Piscataqua River as the site was originally developed in the 1950s and located extremely close to the water. He said Grimmel will be operating under the stormwater plan Maine Department of Environmental Protection approved for Sprague and the addition of Grimmel to the plan has already received DEP approval. Sprague representative Jim Therriault said the arrangements in Searsport will be much different than in Portsmouth, including a retention pond for any runoff. Therriault noted there will be an environmental consultant at Monday's Planning Board meeting to further address specific questions.
The Planning Board meets Jan. 12 at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting will be streamed online at http://townhallstreams.com/locations/searsport-me.

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Bangor Daily NewsJuly 6, 2013 

Cause of Topsham rail car fire remains undetermined . .. Sunday’s blaze was the seventh fire in less than two decades at the scrap metal recycling plant, at the site of the former Pejepscot paper mill on the Androscoggin River.


Lewiston Sun Journal:  
. . . . The Topsham site has been plagued with fires, including several notable burns. A 1995 fire that caused more than $1 million in damages was determined to be arson.
A July 2004 inferno drew firefighters from 17 departments to a three-alarm fire that destroyed several buildings. Investigators said the flames were so hot that the cause could not be determined, according to the Sun Journal.


  

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