WINDHAM — Scavenging is back in upscale Windham.
Selectmen recently lifted a ban on scavenging at the town transfer station so residents can retrieve parts or products they deem useful.
Dennis Senibaldi, the solid waste management supervisor, said the town imposed the ban last year due to activities of salvage profiteers.
“It was mind-boggling,” Senibaldi said.”You’d show up and a guy would have a truck loaded with steel. You’d look at the stuff they would take and no way it was for personal use.”
Windham traditionally allowed residents to dig into the scrap pile for screen doors, lawnmower parts and discarded bicycles.
But then, the price of metal surged, drawing a very different scavenger.
“We had guys filling up trucks with all sorts of stuff,” Senibaldi said. “They could get $200 for a truckload.”
Personal use of scrap is OK in Windham, but personal profit is another matter.
The town would rather sell the scrap itself for the benefit of taxpayers. Senibaldi said the town sells scrap metal to a private company in Salem.
“That can bring in $50,000 in a year,” he said.
Safety also was a concern driving the ban.
“It wasn’t so much the money,” Senibaldi said. “Some of them were climbing an 8-foot pile of steel to get a wheel off a lawnmower. It was a liability issue.”
But after the ban, the transfer station crew encountered residents who would really want a screen door or some other discarded piece.
In one case, somebody needed a cage for their dog.
“There was legitimate stuff people needed to use,” Senibaldi said.
So, transfer station manager Dave Paulson asked selectmen to lift the ban and allow limited scavenging.
The transfer station announced the return of scavenging a few weeks ago.
“Residents will be allowed to request removing items from the metal recycling area by contacting a station staff member under a controlled scavenging standard operating procedure,” the announcement said.