, Newburyport, MA

June 24, 2013

Newburyporters rally against new landfill in Groveland

Staff reports
Newburyport Daily News

---- — GROVELAND — Plans to fill in a long-abandoned quarry have been generating controversy in town, in large part due to Newburyport’s contentious experiences with the man who is doing the work.

William Thibeault, who owned the company that capped Newburyport’s Crow Lane landfill, is proposing to fill in an abandoned quarry near the Groveland-Georgetown line. He’s created a new company, Groveland R T, LLC, to manage the project.

Thibeault spent the past decade trucking in demolition debris to Crow Lane and then capping it with soil. The job was marked by frequent complaints from neighbors about foul smells emanating from the debris and confrontations between the city and Thibeault that led to fines levied against Thibeault, occasional shutdowns of the site and a lawsuit.

Crow Lane has finally been capped, but complaints about smells are still being reported. Frustration over Thibeault’s handling of the Newburyport site is spilling over into Groveland, where some Newburyporters are urging Groveland residents to rally against Thibeault.

Among them is Newburyport Conservation Commission Chairman Joe Teixeira, who urged Groveland residents to oppose the arrival of Thibeault’s firm. He suggested that the state is not effective in dealing with Thibeault’s Crow Lane firm New Ventures, and that it was difficult to manage. Teixeira made his comments on a Facebook page called Groveland Town Crier, where several residents expressed their concerns about the project.

Teixeira said Groveland should take the time to research Thibeault’s track record in Newburyport, then put effort into making sure that any agreement is “robust” enough to protect the town’s interests in case something goes wrong.

Thibeault, whose businesses are largely based in Everett where he runs a demolition disposal business, did not return phone calls from The Daily News.

On Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Veasey Park on Washington Street, the Conservation Commission will be holding a meeting to hear more information on the plans and ask questions.

Commission Chairman Mike Dempsey said he’s aware of the controversy that the plan has generated, and said he’s been warned the board, “better be careful about that company and its owner because of what was done in Newburyport.”

The quarry is located off Salem Street, down a long dirt road directly across the street from the A.W. Chesterson manufacturing plant. For about two decades or so, stone was quarried from a rock outcropping on the site. It was shut down in the 1990s.

Thibeault purchased the 39 acres that make up the old quarry site in late 2005 for $450,000. It’s located nearly on the town line that separates Groveland from Georgetown. Behind it lies an extensive area of thick forest, swamps and streams. The closest road behind it is West Street in Georgetown, nearly a mile away.

According to plans filed by Thibeault’s company, he plans to bring in about 77,000 cubic yards of “clean fill” excavated from sites in Boston and the metro area. The soil will be brought in over a period of three to five years. The plans say that when the project is complete, the 6-acre pit will be brought up to grade, leveled, seeded and “left to revegetate.”

Dempsey said problems have existed at the site for at least the past dozen years. It was partly filled with clay and what Dempsey described as a “weird silt” that has leached out of the quarry.

“We are kind of concerned because of the history of the site,” said Dempsey. “We’re expecting next Wednesday to flesh out questions regarding the site’s past.”