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The former Northeast Wood Products sawmill in Pownal may soon be a TAM recycling center. (Holly Pelczynski )
The former Northeast Wood Products sawmill in Pownal may soon be a TAM recycling center. (Holly Pelczynski )
The former Northeast Wood Products sawmill in Pownal may soon be a TAM recycling center. (Holly Pelczynski )

POWNAL -- A local waste hauler wants to build a recycling plant that will reduce the amount of construction and demolition waste currently going into a landfill.

TAM Waste Management has already received town approval for the project at the former Northeast Wood Products, 171 Church St., but must still get an Act 250 permit and a solid waste permit from the state.

The facility will accept all forms of non-hazardous waste, said Trevor Mance, founder and owner of TAM, but what will set it apart is that it will take construction and demolition (C&D) waste. Mance said the facility will allow between 50 and 80 percent of the C&D it handles to be recycled.

"At this point, it gets put into a tractor trailer and sent up to the Plattsburgh, N.Y., area," to be put in a landfill, Mance said.

The facility will be able to separate C&D materials to be sold to different markets, such as shingles for asphalt and road material. Clean wood, he said, can be used as composting material, which would dovetail with TAM's composting facility in Bennington, which started operation this year.

He said the composting facility and recycling center should help local businesses and governments comply with the requirements of Act 148, which will be phased in over the next few years.

Mance plans to ask the state to permit the recycling facility to handle 60,000 tons of material per year, however that limit may not be reached or even come close for as long as 10 years.


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Mance said material collected by TAM will go there first, but he plans to open it up to other haulers.

How fast it grows depends on the economy, he said. TAM currently runs a facility in Shaftsbury, as well as the town's transfer station, and the amount of material has been largely flat since the economic recession bottomed out about five years ago.

The site is near a rail spur, which offers the potential for future growth and to move material in a more environmentally friendly way, said Mance. There were other reasons to choose Pownal as well.

"We found the town very easy to work with and it was a great opportunity to use an existing structure," Mance said.

He expects to employ about 15 people, which will include sorters, truck drivers, and managers.

The site is currently owned by Bill Drunsic, of Manchester, who in May 2011 looked poised to run a wood pellet packaging plant there. The site was formerly known as Northeast Wood Products, a sawmill, which Drunsic bought at a foreclosure auction the year before. Drunsic had all the necessary permits in place to run the pellet operation, but said Friday the project fell through.

"My potential partner decided it was not a good location from a wood supply perspective and transportation perspective," Drunsic said.

He has a tentative agreement to sell the property to TAM should all the permits for the recycling facility come through.

Mance said the Pownal Development Review Board placed some conditions on the project before approving it, namely requiring an earthen berm be built on the north side to reduce noise, restricting the hours of operation to 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and moving a proposed building farther from a property line.

He said the only new construction should be an addition to one of the larger buildings. Most of the center's activities will occur indoors, Mance said.

The project has an additional permitting hurdle it must clear. Because Pownal, along with Arlington, Dorset, Manchester, Peru, Sandgate, Sunderland, Glastenbury, and Shaftsbury are all members of a single Solid Waste Implementation Plan, all must give support when a new solid waste facility is built in one of those towns. Each town must provide a letter of support, and two public hearings must be held. One has been scheduled at the Pownal Town Office for Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m., while the other will be announced and held in another SWIP town.

Michael Batcher, regional solid waste program manager for the Bennington County Regional Commission, said the main challenge with this element of the SWIP is coordination between towns and their monthly board meetings. He said the last time support was needed on something from the SWIP towns was when Glastenbury, a disincorporated town with under a dozen residents, was added to the group.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.