Dirty snow on Long Lake

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

NAPLES — It’s not very cool to leave dirty snow piles on local lake ice — especially when that snow was plowed from Route 302.

That was the sentiment of a community member who called Maine Department of Transportation Resident Engineer Craig Hurd following last month’s snowstorm.

Hurd received one complaint about snow piles left behind on Long Lake’s ice, and that person “was just concerned about contaminants that might get into the water when the ice melted,” he said.

“It was the blizzard that we had at the end of December. They (the contractors) piled some snow on the rail and pushed it onto the ice. I went out to the site and figured out they were not doing what they were supposed to do,” Hurd said.

He cited miscommunication as the cause for the misdeed.

Hurd heads the temporary MDOT office in Naples, and is involved with the Bay of Naples Bridge and Causeway construction. Wyman and Simpson is the contractor hired for the two-year project, which is estimated to cost $9 million.

Any potential damage to the environment was averted since the snow piles were removed and there was no open water nearby, according to Hurd.

“It should be a non-issue now,” he said, adding contractors are now crystal clear about not using lake ice to pile surplus snow.

Also, Wyman and Simpson has established a snow-dumping site for future snowstorms, he said.

With any MDOT project that remains in full swing during the winter, snow removal is part of the contractor’s job description, Hurd said.

From now until mid-May, Wyman and Simpson crews will be working on the seawall located on the Long Lake side of the bridge, he said. The goal is to complete 800 feet of the 1,300-foot seawall by May 15, Hurd explained.

As seawall work has progressed, an unforeseen environmental issue was dug up — asbestos.

“There was some old asbestos along the utility lines in there,” Hurd said.

Biosafe, a subcontractor that deals with hazardous waste and is based in Westbrook, was notified.

“They came down, got in their suits, removed it, and transported the asbestos to an approved facility,” Hurd said.

Also, crews have run into tainted soil, prompting a call to the Environmental Protection Agency to test the soil. So far, contamination levels have not required dirt to be permanently removed, according to Hurd.

The asbestos came as a surprise, and Hurd could not predict what other environmental hazard might show its ugly head.

“We know that there is stuff there,” he said. “We hear rumors.”

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