Farley, Inc. of Rockport will take up an effort to clear a Warren site of a large amount of carpet material that has been decomposing there for years after the state Department of Environmental Protection chose its cleanup bid earlier this month.

Bill Longfellow, DEP director of innovation and assistance, confirmed a $270,000 contract with Farley. The Rockport firm and its subcontractor, Dragon Products Company of Thomaston, are in final negotiations with the state DEP to remove approximately 27,000 tons of the material, which is half of the total at the site.

The 70-acre site on Route 90 in Warren has a diverse and, at times, contentious ownership history. Between 1900 and 1950 there were five private owners, while in 1972 the owner was listed as Schoolphoto Inc. The Overlock Family Trust took over the property in 1994, until 1997 when the owner of record was Steamship Navigation Company. The property was listed as a solid waste facility with licenses held by Steamship Navigation and Cascade Fiber.

Steamship principal owners Randy and Cathy Dunican collected $1 million to bring in the flammable carpet material to build berms to stop bullets for a rifle range being developed by R.D. Outfitters beginning in approximately 1998. After Steamship was unable to complete the project, the DEP took over the site through a court action and received $400,000 from the owner for cleanup.

A June 2018 environmental assessment found the berms made of “a non-woven fabric used to manufacture automobile trunk liners” covered 25 percent of the property. “The berms are in various stages of completion ranging from uncovered to completely covered and vegetated. It is unknown if the berms, used as bullet stops, were ever cleaned to remove spent bullets and associated fragments,” according to the assessment by Beacon Environmental Consultants.

Longfellow said price was the biggest difference between the bids submitted by Farley and two other firms.

“Farley proposed a per ton cost which was much lower than other bidders. Farley proposed shipping the material to Dragon in Thomaston, which reduces trucking expenses,” Longfellow said. “The contract with Farley will be conditional upon Dragon being permitted to burn the material from this site at its Thomaston facility.”

Dragon produces cement materials for construction of highways, bridges and buildings, according to its website. A message left at its facility was not immediately returned.

Longfellow said the company is working to attain permitting for the Warren project. “Dragon is currently licensed to burn the carpet material if it were to come directly from the manufacturer or source, so this is not a new fuel for Dragon,” he explained. “Very little ash would remain as most of the ash would be incorporated into the cement product being manufactured.”

Warren Town Manager Bill Lawrence said he has “mixed feelings” about the project.

“I am happy to see some movement in the cleanup since it had been 19 years. I am disappointed that it’s not a complete site cleanup,” Lawrence said. “The town does not own the property at this time so our hands are tied. Every year the property comes up for foreclosure on back taxes and the residents vote no to acquire the property for fear the town would be responsible for the cleanup.”

Final negotiations between the DEP and Farley will be conducted “over the next several weeks,” according to Longfellow. “Once a contract is completed and Dragon has proper permitting, then work can commence,” he said.