LEWISTON – Widely differing opinions on CWM Chemical Services’ hazardous waste disposal business will be considered before the state Department of Environmental Conservation makes its final decision on the company’s application to continue operations at its 710-acre site in the towns of Lewiston and Porter.
Molly McBride, an administrative law judge for the DEC, said the opinions expressed by 15 speakers at two public hearings Monday in Lewiston-Porter High School will be considered, along with written opinions that can be filed with the DEC regional office in Buffalo until March 29.
David Denk, the DEC’s regional permit administrator, said the department already “has made a tentative determination” to renew CWM’s operating permit “with some modifications.”
“CWM’s application is technically and administratively complete,” Denk said, “but a final determination has yet to be made.”
Lori A. Caso, public affairs spokeswoman for CWM, said the application under discussion Monday was a routine procedure under which the DEC reviews waste disposal operations at least once every five years; it extends the operating permits if there are no negative findings.
CWM also has applied to expand the size of its operation at 1550 Balmer Road in the hamlet of Model City, but that is a separate application and was not the subject of Monday’s hearings.
Among others who spoke against renewing the operating permit was Nils Olsen, who has served on advisory committees on CWM issues. He criticized a “symbiotic relationship” between CWM and some representatives of the DEC. He said he would submit a written statement opposing the extension of the operating permit, “which permits the storage here of 8 million tons of hazardous waste.”
Bart Klettke of Lewiston, a professional engineer, said, however, that CWM’s landfill is “a proper use of this property: Keep up the good work!” He pointed out that the property was contaminated by the production of World War II munitions and other chemicals long before it was acquired by CWM and that it is not suited for other uses.