WARREN — The Warren Select Board and the Steamship Navigation Advisory Committee are inviting all interested parties for a discussion on the former rifle range property off Route 90.

The meeting will be held 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29 at the Warren Fire Station. To be discussed are the findings of the Committee including potential uses for the fiber, possible future uses of the property, grant opportunities for cleaning up the site as well as waiving foreclosure by the town.

A special town meeting to vote on the foreclosure issue is scheduled for Dec. 7.

Town Manager Sherry Howard said there are no concrete plans for cleaning up the property but the meeting will give residents an opportunity to hear from the Committee and ask questions.

The Committee was formed after the December 2021 special town meeting.

Residents have agreed since 1999 to waive foreclosure on the 70-acre parcel on Route 90 because of concerns about the potential environmental cleanup the town would be responsible for if it foreclosed on the property.

Back in 1997, Randall and Kathleen Dunican bought the land under the corporate name of Steamship Navigation Company. Billed as the R.D. Outfitters rifle range, the company accepted about 175,000 cubic yards of polyester fiber scraps from the former Gates Formed-Fibre Products, Inc. of Auburn, saying it would be used to create berms for the rifle range.

The property owners were paid an estimated $1 million to accept the material that had been largely used as linings for the trunks of motor vehicles.

Opponents to the range questioned whether the owners were simply using the property as an unlicensed dump to make money by accepting the material.

The owners abandoned the property after accepting the more than 27,000 tons of wastes. The owners have not paid their property taxes, leading to the need for the town to vote on whether to foreclose on the property.

The town and Maine Department of Environmental Protection took the company to court and recovered $410,000 as part of a $1.5 million settlement with Steamship. The town and state wanted the material covered to prevent the wastes from catching fire.

The DEP has tried for the past 20 years to clean up the property by contracting with companies that would reuse the wastes. Each of those efforts, however, ended with little waste being removed.

The DEP signed a contract with Triumvirate Environmental Inc. of Somerville, Mass., in October 2013. At no cost to the town or state, Triumvirate was to truck the material to a manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania, where it would be converted into composite lumber.

Then DEP Commissioner Patricia Aho toured the property in 2015, and said she was stunned by what she saw.

“I never imagined the scope and magnitude,” Aho said, pointing out that the mountains of waste cannot be seen from heavily-traveled Route 90.

The material was supposed to have been all removed by 2016 or 2017. That effort failed as the company decided against continuing to remove the wastes after a short time.

The DEP then reached an agreement with Farley and Sons to remove the wastes and truck it to the Dragon Products for use as fuel by the cement manufacturer in Thomaston. Approximately 16 tons of material were removed from the site and taken to Dragon, but that stopped about three years ago.

The DEP said there were material handling challenges at Dragon, and the additional cost and manpower required to physically process the wastes led to the effort ending.