July 07. 2013 9:18PM

Candia selectmen at odds over ash removal

Union Leader Correspondent

A recent report on the old site of the Candia incinerator estimates as much as 500 tons of ash remains at the site, which no longer has any buildings. (COURTESY)

CANDIA — After a report was given out to some residents detailing the composition of ash left over at the site of the town's old incinerator, selectmen are at odds over what the report means, how much the cleanup of the ash will cost, and whether the report should have been made public.

With an estimated 500 tons of ash at the site, Selectman Richard Snow said he has been passing around a recently released report by Stantec Consulting Services analyzing the ash because the site is a big problem for the town and a potential liability issue.

"I believe this is a serious problem for Candia, and with the current price to dispose of ash around $100, we are talking about a $500,000 project here," Snow said.

Selectman Chairman Frederick Kelley said he does not share Snow's concerns, and instead questioned why Snow was passing around a report that has yet to be discussed by the selectmen.

"Mr. Snow passed (the report) around town to get everyone riled up over nothing. When I see him he is going to get his ear blasted off, I told him not to do that. The report should have not been released until the board could discuss it at a meeting. This is touchy ground (Snow) is stepping on," Kelley said.

Kelley added that Snow's estimation of the ash removal costing $500,000 is without merit.

"That figure is not in the report, (Snow) just came up with that on his own," he said.

Snow acknowledged that the number is his own estimation, but it is a figure he said he came up with by checking the cost with disposal sites in the state.

"There are only two sites that I know that are available that will accept ash," Snow said.

Snow added that he thinks the issue is important enough, that he doesn't care if he upsets fellow board members with his conduct.

"It wouldn't bother me," he said.

Kelley said it is far too soon to even speculate what the town will do with the ash, because upon receiving the report from Stantec the town turned over the findings to the state Department of Environmental Services.

"If we do anything at the site, we'll do what the state tells us. It depends on what they say," Kelley said.

Kelley went on to say that Snow, along with former fire chief Rudy Cartier, are trying to turn the issue into something much bigger than it is.

"If you read the report it says the ash is not dangerous, and people have gotten stirred upside down from hearing that the site is dangerous — it is not dangerous. Mr. Snow is a troublemaker, and he is listening to Mr. Cartier, who was fired by both (the town) and the DES," Kelley said.

Selectman Amanda Soares said any numbers Snow has said the project will cost are his opinions.

"We have gotten no cost estimate in writing yet. We don't even know what we are going to do," she said.

The impetus for the problem now facing the town started roughly 10 years ago, when voters decided to close the old incinerator site and instead open a recycling plant, which went online about five years ago, to take its place.

"The site sits on top of a capped landfill," Kelley said, who added that while the ash remains, all the buildings on the old site have since been removed.

If the board decides to put forth an expensive course of action, Soares said residents would need to vote on it through a warrant article.

If the solution to the ash situation is inexpensive enough that it could work within the budget, "(the board) will decide what to do," she said.