Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Latest installment of landfill news

I received Wednesday evening, from Ron Klodenski of the citizen's ad hoc committee on the landfill, a presentation given to the City Council on Monday. David Chatfield, another committee member, put together a terrific update. This is just one slide in the presentation:

NV (New Ventures, LLC, the landfill owner) has an atrocious operating record at this site:
􀂆 Not mixing soil with the C&D (construction & demolition) fines
􀂆 Low ratio of soil to C&D fines
􀂆 Not operating the mitigation equipment
􀂆 Not maintaining the mitigation equipment
􀂆 Mitigation system has never been validated
􀂆 High turnover of staff
􀂆 High turnover of contractors
􀂆 Poor relations with the community members
􀂆 Poor relations with City staff
􀂆 Not meeting odor complaint protocols
􀂆 Not meeting traffic clauses in host community agreement
􀂆 Littering
􀂆 Timeliness of responses regarding design, etc
􀂆 Not meeting schedule
􀂆 Continuing hydrogen sulfide emissions into the community
􀂆 Not manning the site 24/7
􀂆 Deliberate shutdown of mitigation equipment

I am on the email list of people who get the reports of complaints about the landfill. It's a relatively small group of people - BUT if you think this is a localized issue, consider this: no one knows how far the hydrogen sulfide blows on the wind. The monitors are all in the Crow Lane area. Paul Healey, chairman of the Conservation Commission, said at a recent meeting that he has smelled the distinctive odor of hyrogen sulfide (burnt matches) all the way out on Plum Island.

Early last month I sat with city Director of Public Health Jack Morris in his office. He showed me how much paper he had in his office relating to the landfill - not to mention all the files that were stored elsewhere in the department. This issue has taken up a lot of his time, and his time is taxpayers' money.

Lastly, for now (this situation shows no sign of going away anytime soon):

"Proximity to landfills and hazardous waste sites can severely affect property values. Any property close to an active landfill will probably be devalued as a matter of course. Depending on how close the property lies to the site, whether the site is still active, and (if not active) if the waste has been properly encapsulated or removed, the value of a tract of land or home could be affected in many different ways. For example, if an active landfill is declared "closed" and proper measures are taken to ensure that there is no risk of contamination from the waste therein, the value of a nearby property may rise from the low value it had from being located near an active waste site. Devalued property may further regain some of its previous value if the former waste site is improved or developed commercially. However, if the waste site is not properly closed and encapsulated, or if waste leaks into the surrounding properties while or after it is active, property values may be irreversibly lowered." [source:]

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