PELHAM — Residents soon will be able to dump construction debris such as wallboard or lumber at the town's recycling center.

Last week, the selectmen approved the measure, to take effect Sept. 14. They said the service was long overdue.

Whether it's buckets of broken wallboard, a pile of two-by-fours, or a heap of window frames, the station will accept them for a nominal fee, Selectman Hal Lynde said. It makes sense to receive the material at the center since most people end up with construction debris at one time or another, he said.

"We've all had that," he said.

Local regulations have prevented the center from accepting the debris in the past. Residents who arrived with the construction material were directed to a private company out of town, where they were charged a minimum fee of about $75, Lynde said.

The recycling center will charge $2 for receiving debris up to 50 pounds; $5 for 51 to 100 pounds; $10 for 101 to 200 pounds; and increase by $5 per 100 pounds up to 500 pounds, over which the price will be 7 cents per pound.

The fees will cover the town's cost of disposing of the materials and discourage abuse of the service, said Ron Hannon, the center's director.

Hannon said the service is long overdue.

"The residents have been screaming for it," he said.

Selectman Bill McDevitt opposed the fee schedule, but supports the service. He said he objected to the town charging someone $2 to get rid of a small amount of debris given the tough economy.

With the change, the center will accept other construction debris, including shingles, doors, furniture, insulation, hot tubs, toilets, sinks, rugs, mattresses, box springs, bricks and tiles.

The materials will be shipped to a refuse-to-energy plant, where it will be burned and produce energy, and not end up in a landfill, Hannon said.

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