, Newburyport, MA

May 18, 2013

City officials, DEP to meet Monday on Crow Lane landfill

Capping remains incomplete; neighbors continue to struggle with odors


---- — NEWBURYPORT - City officials are scheduled to meet with members of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Monday to discuss ongoing concerns about odors emanating from the private landfill at Crow Lane.

The meeting, which will be held at the offices of DEP, has been scheduled for several weeks, but it comes at a time when odors from the site have once again been troubling the landfill’s frustrated neighbors.

For years, the neighbors have suffered from episodes of nausea, sinus problems, headaches and itchy, watery eyes due to the odors from the landfill. The landfill was purchased in 2000 by the company New Ventures with the plan of closing it by heaping tons of demolition debris on top and capping it. Since then, city officials have been working with the state to get to the point of closure.

While the closure process has advanced in recent years, progress has slowed recently.

Yesterday, several residents continued to notify city officials of odors coming from the privately owned facility.

“I called in a complaint to New Ventures at about 8 a.m.,” said Ron Klodenski, of Wildwood Drive, “because of sulfur dioxide odor coming from the Crow Lane landfill. I noticed it at the intersection of Coltin Drive and Wildwood Drive.”

City officials and affected residents alike had expected the troubled landfill to be closed, sealed and odorless by at least mid-2013.

But Klodenski and others have filed several complaints this spring to New Ventures. Spokesmen at New Ventures could not be reached yesterday.

City Councilor Brian Derrivan, who represents the ward in which the landfill is located, was busy yesterday in attempting to obtain relief for nearby residents.

Derrivan, in a memo to Anthony Furnari, director of public services, stated, “I need you to get DEP to the landfill today and find out what’s going on with the flare. I also want to know the last time the flare was inspected . . . I look forward to your response.”

Furnari, several hours later, reported to Derrivan, “A site visit was conducted at Crow Lane and the corner of Coltin Drive and Wildwood Drive. There was no odor detected at the time . . . all indications at this time is the flare is up and running.”

Spokesmen at the DEP could not be reached Friday.

The flare is a flame at the end of the gas extraction system at the landfill. If the flare is out, and the filter material has not been replenished as need, the hydrogen sulfide comes out of the stack and creates “rotten egg” odors.

Mayor Donna Holaday on Friday said she is concerned about ongoing problems of odor emissions at the landfill.

Holaday indicated that numerous deadlines in the capping process have not been reached by New Ventures, and said that she is going to prevail upon state authorities to compel New Ventures to comply with agreements to halt odors and complete the sealing of the landfill.

Also, city officials say that a pipe under Crow Lane that was created to feed nearby vernal pools has collapsed and needs to be replaced.