It was interesting to see the headline "A Toxic Legacy" in Sunday's issue of The Sun Chronicle and more interesting to see a local supporting piece titled "Our Toxic Legacy." Both stories are about Brownfield projects that are in place or have the means of financial support through several federal and state sources.
Although these projects are important, we here in Attleboro's Ward 4 are faced with a toxic reality of our own with ZERO funding.
The Attleboro Landfill has been under an enforcement order from The Massachusetts Department Of Environmental Protection to complete the capping and closure of this site on Peckham Street since the 1990s. Studies concluded that there was and will continue to be a potential for contamination to the groundwater until the eight- to 10-acre landfill is properly capped.
There was a public meeting on Aug. 14 in Norton to provide residents with informational material and discussion on a proposal by contractor EndCap Technology to cap and close this site. The concerns expressed from the citizens ranged from the high volume of incoming trucks that would be traveling down Norton residential roads and streets to the landfill, to environmental, health and safety concerns in terms of the additional slightly contaminated debris, dirt and soil needed to shape and cap the landfill.
From where I sit, it appears that Norton may very well be in the driver's seat holding the key to what could transpire with the effort to complete the capping and closure of the landfill. Of course, DEP is ultimately the one who would start the engine.
Norton, whether they know it or not, find themselves in a very good position on this issue. They could virtually name their own price on a tipping fee that could generate a huge chunk of revenue for the town.
The reason for this possible windfall to the town of Norton is that they are the last holdout from the following dealings.
In 2009, an agreement was reached between the city of Attleboro and EndCap to grant the contractor use of a specifically designed outbound route that would allow a minimum of 35 trucks per day to travel from the landfill on Peckham Street down Pike Avenue, out to Pleasant Street and onto Starkey, Holden and North Main Streets to Route 95 North. According to the proposal, this would take place Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for at least three years.
As the representative of Ward 4, I am appalled that my neighbors and friends, particularly those living along the proposed truck route, have had no input or choice but to accept this outcome. Ward 3 residents have a stake here as well, since the trucks will be traveling on Starkey, Holden and North Main Streets.
Just the other day, Taunton asked for a mitigation agreement. If you read into this as I do, it means Taunton can be bought.
Attleboro residents have been sold out. Taunton says show me the money. And Norton, well, it remains to be seen. Whether they know it or not, no pun intended, they appear to have hit pay dirt here.
Jonathan Weydt is the Ward 4 representative on the Attleboro City Council.