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June 24, 2013

Port still waiting for fixes to troublesome landfill

NEWBURYPORT — Regardless of what happens in Groveland, most observers in Newburyport would say that New Ventures LLC had caused problems for those who had hoped the landfill on Crow Lane could be closed and sealed without complication.

For more than a decade, New Ventures has been in the process of closing the site, which it owns. Now the owner of the company, William Thibeault, is filing for permits to fill in an abandoned quarry in Groveland (see related story).

Several hundred thousand dollars have been spent on the closure project, but residents who live near the site still complain consistently of noxious odors coming from the site, which is filled with tons of household and commercial waste aggregated over the years.

In recent weeks, in fact, residents complained again of odors coming from the landfill.

City officials for years have sought support from state Department of Environmental Protection as part of an effort to stop such odors and seal the nine-acre landfill.

DEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmel stated in May that he will aid Newburyport in compelling New Ventures to take action to stop offensive gases such as hydrogen sulfide from entering the air.

But a state of clean air has been difficult to obtain.

One of the frustrating elements of working with New Ventures appears to be Thibeault does respond to some directives. The company has made changes that DEP required over the years, and within the last month has responded to complaints by making adjustments to monitoring devices at the landfill.

Mayor Donna Holaday referred to a situation recently in which a flare to burn off noxious gases had expired: “I was pleased in the recent incident where the flare was inoperable that New Ventures did respond to the 72-hour notice issued by the DEP per the settlement agreement and repaired/restarted the flare,” which resulted in a cessation of noxious odors.

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