Former mill is going, going, gone

One of the last pieces of mill structure not being repurposed is destroyed.
By Fran Gonzalez | Oct 29, 2019
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez Pieces of the  No. 8 stack lie in rubble after a detonated collapse at the former Verso Paper mill Oct. 29.

Bucksport — One of the last remaining visual legacies of the former Verso Paper mill was demolished early Tuesday morning with a loud bang.

Just before 8 a.m., explosives were detonated at the base of the No. 8 boiler stack, causing the collapse of the large structure in a slow, sweeping fall.

According to an observer from Maine Maritime Academy, which is taking over part of the property, the stack was obsolete and was not being used.

Bucksport Town Manager Susan Lessard said American Iron and Metal Development purchased the entire site in 2014 and subdivided the parcel into three major components.

A portion was sold to Whole Oceans, which will raise Atlantic salmon in a land-based aquaculture plant. Another portion was sold to MMA to be used as a training center for undergraduate students, professional mariners and for workforce development.

The third parcel was the existing power plant which, Lessard said, was recently purchased by Ironclad Energy, a power-generation company, with an anticipated closing date of Nov. 1.

"AIM was the owner of the lot and had to tear down the smokestack before the sale," Lessard said.

According to the town manager, Ironclad has secured a 10-year contract with ISO New England to be a "black start" power generator to the grid. If there is a problem with the grid, "[the plant] will kick in to provide needed electricity," she said.

"We're close to the fifth-year anniversary of the closure of the mill," Lessard said. "What's important is, within five years, the site is poised to move into the future, all with new purposes."

To view an aerial drone capture of the No.8 boiler stack collapse, visit  facebook.com/watch/?v=2448353128786206.

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