Toxic Solvent Plant at Issue In Somerville

A Somerville businessman's proposal to build a plant to recycle hazardous chemical solvents may influence that city's upcoming municipal elections, even though possible construction of the plant is more than two years away.

Francis Bakey, Ward 2 alderman, and his opponent Edward Hardy traded charges last week over the Board of Aldermen's approval of the proposal last July.

The plant would clean dirty industrial solvents, which state law classifies as hazardous wastes, and sell them back to the originating companies.

Hardy's campaign literature condemns Bakey's support of the plant.

Hardy yesterday called the approval "hypocritical in light of the recent chemical accidents we have had."

He added that the proposed plant would pose significant health and fire hazards.

Bakey countered that Hardy's campaign literature "warped the whole thing out of context."

"We're not the licensing authority," Bakey said, adding, "This guy's got a two-year wait."

Walter Kelly, owner of Aaborn Disposal Co., and proposer of the plant, says he hopes to locate his new solvent recovery company near Rte. 93 in Somerville.

No firm of this type exists in the Boston area.

Dr. Melvin H. Chalfin, Cambridge public health commissioner, said the plant would not necessarily pose a health hazard.