Buyers interested in purchasing Plan-It Recycling & Transfer Inc. are waiting for a resolution to the Gorham company’s legal issues before taking over the site and cleaning up the massive piles of trash that have accumulated off Route 25.

Plan-It’s attorney David Perkins said two companies, which he wouldn’t name, are considering buying the shuttered recycling and trash facility. But before Plan-It can be sold, it needs to settle lawsuits against it, which could happen within the coming weeks.

Settlement discussions began Monday, when lawyers for the company and its mortgage holders, including Bank of America, met with representatives of the town of Gorham and the Department of Environmental Protection.

Gorham and the DEP sued Plan-It last year for violating local and state licenses to process and store trash.

“We made significant steps toward settlement,” said Assistant Attorney General Nancy Macirowski, who’s representing the DEP. The parties plan to meet again next week.

“I think something positive will happen soon,” Perkins said.

Plan-It has no money. So, Perkins said, whoever buys the company will be responsible for the cleanup of the site.

Gorham’s attorney, William Dale, said the negotiations revolved around how to pay for cleanup costs and money owed to Plan-It’s mortgage holders.

About 5,000 tons of trash have been sitting at Plan-It’s 5-acre site since January, when a Cumberland County Superior Court judge shut down the facility, after Plan-It ignored a previous court order not to take in more trash than it was hauling out.

Eric Hamlin, an environmental specialist for the DEP, has said the piles of trash are a fire hazard and could produce odors and leak as it decomposes.

He said Tuesday he hopes the trash will be removed before winter, when harsh weather could make the situation worse.

“It’s a mess, and it would be good to get it off that site,” Hamlin said.

Hamlin has estimated it would cost about $700,000 to dispose the trash at a secured landfill or incinerate it at ecomaine in Portland. A less expensive option would be to dump the trash at a closed Gorham landfill, where there would be no tipping fees.

The DEP looked at the former town landfill and determined it could handle the waste, which is mostly construction and demolition debris. It would be up to the town to accept the trash and apply to DEP with a formal request and plan to dispose it there, Hamlin said.

Town Manager David Cole hasn’t ruled out the possibility.

“From the town’s perspective, all of the options are on the table,” he said.

 

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at: 791-6364 or at: [email protected]