|Posted by Matthew P. LaFrenier on January 30, 2016 at 2:30 PM|
JAY - A scrap metal yard has opened at the former site of the Wausau Paper Mill on the bank of the Androscoggin River this week, aiming to serve as a "flagship facility" for a number of Maine yards.
According to project manager Leon Dorr, Clark's Riverside Scrap will serve as both a collection center for local metal in Androscoggin and Franklin County as well as a distribution point for heavy iron scrap collected throughout the state. The yard intends to make use of the Pan Am Railways line that runs through the site to transport heavy iron out of state. Meanwhile, light iron and non-ferrous metal scrap, such as copper, will be transported by truck to other Clark sites within the state.
"We actually had our first customer this morning, which is exciting," Dorr said.
He spoke inside the office building that will provide oversight for the yard. Dorr said that the company had put a lot of work into the small building to make it eco-firendly, utilizing heat pumps and energy efficient windows. Through one set of windows, visitors could see the truck scales that will weigh incoming scrap. Through the other is the Androscoggin River.
"Almost every day we've had people stopping in," Dorr said. "Asking when we're going to be open."
The Wausau Paper Mill operated on the banks of the river since the late 1880s. Otis Ventures LLC, owned by Howes and husband Tim DeMillo, purchased the site after the mill closed in 2009 and renamed it Otis Falls Mill. Their initial goal was to transform the 22-acre site and 600,000-plus square foot mill complex into a commercial and/or industrial park. They ended up selling the site to John Clark III of Farmingdale in April 2015.
Clark's Riverside Scrap will be the fourth such yard in the state, Dorr said, and the largest. The other sites, in Hallowell, Montville and Chelsea, will transport heavy iron scrap to Jay by truck, for eventual sale and transportation out of state by rail. Meanwhile, those same trucks will return to the other Clark yards with light and non-iron scrap.
Of course, the Jay site will also be collecting scrap metal from municipalities, companies and individuals, known as "peddlers" in the scrap dealer parlance. Dorr noted that peddlers needed to be at least 18 years old and provide valid, government-issued identification. All transactions are recorded and then paid for by check; cash is never available at the yard.
For towns, the yard offers a closer drop-off point for metal waste than previous options. Highway Foreman John Johnson, who also manages the transfer station, noted that Mill Street location represented an eight-mile round trip, rather than previous deliveries made out of the county. Given the currently low price for scrap, Johnson said, many towns were actually losing money on the haul.
Additionally, Johnson said, some residents might decide to bring metal items directly to Clark's Riverside Scrap, rather than the transfer station. That may be particularly true for items such as lead acid car and truck batteries (Clark's Riverside only accepts lead acid batteries).
"I would expect our metal may go down," Johnson said.
Two large concrete pads toward the rear of the facility will be used to store the heavier metals. The drains go directly to an oil/water separater for treatment, while the pads are equipped with scales. Copper and other non-ferrous scrap will be stored in a secured building on site.
Dorr estimated that the site was 85-percent complete; some paving and fencing will need to wait for the ground to thaw. The plan is to have single-direction traffic around the 5-acre yard to reduce the chance of an accident. The company may look at bringing down some of the old mill buildings in the long term, but there are no immediate plans to do so.
"I think it will work out well for everyone," Dorr said. The company would be hiring employees as business dictated, he said.
Business hours for the yard will be Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. The yard's address is 2 Mill Street in Jay. Those with questions can call the yard at 207-500-2368 or visit www.clarksscrapmetals.com.