, Newburyport, MA

Local News

June 24, 2013

Port still waiting for fixes to troublesome landfill


Holaday recently told The Daily News, “I am awaiting word from DEP on the plan to proceed with the final closure (connect new header system for the gas extraction system and complete wetlands work) as well as plans for post-closure.

“The city’s position has been made very clear to the DEP — this needs to be finished and the Financial Assurance Mechanism (FAM) will not cover the final closure, so DEP and our state Legislature must step in to help.”

This FAM account was funded by New Ventures (at the state’s insistence) for about $2.7 million. There is about $90,000 remaining in the fund.

Much of that figure was spent on improvements that DEP ordered, according to city and state officials.

However, about $180,000 is needed to finish the closure and to develop a post-closure plan, according to city officials. Holaday is looking for the state assistance to travel the final mile.

State Rep. Mike Costello, D-Newburyport, recently said there might be state funds available to help seal the landfill.

“The DEP has money to close what are known as orphan sites,” said Costello. “We are going to be lobbying actively to be included in the fund or the general fund, to come up with enough money to close the site — and to monitor it for years after.”

Indeed, this city’s experience with New Ventures appears to have been one in which municipal and state leaders have had to cajole, threaten and/or litigate to get the company to take comprehensive action to stop odors and seal the landfill.

The story goes back to at least 2000, when New Ventures said it intended to cap the Crow Lane site.

In late 2003, the state Department of Environmental Protection approved the landfill owner’s conceptual plan to close the site albeit with several conditions. The Crow Lane dump was capped by bringing enormous quantities of construction debris from Thibeault’s Everett-based company, mounding it up on top of the dump, and then covering it with protective layers and topsoil. What was once a fairly flat plain is now one of the highest hills in Newburyport.

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