Attleboro residents living in Ward 4 were invited to an informational meeting Wednesday night concerning the capping plan for Attleboro Landfill, but Mayor Kevin Dumas, landfill owner Al Dumont and associates from EndCap (the company in charge of the project) were not on the guest list.
"We were trying not to have a disruptive meeting," at-large City Councilor Richard Conti said. "We did not invite the mayor. We did not invite Al Dumont. We did not invite EndCap. EndCap asked to come. We asked them not to come, because we wanted this to be a neighborhood meeting."
Using a slideshow presentation, Conti and Ward 4 Councilor Jonathan Weydt informed residents on the current condition of the 55-acre landfill and what the capping project could entail. Landfill activity ceased in 1994, with a portion of the land being capped in 2002. Two years later, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection ordered the Phase B section of the landfill to be capped. It was determined that Dumont did not have the financial means to do it, and chose EndCap, a soil management company, to draw up a proposal.
The required closure and post closure work that EndCap is expected to do will cost approximately $3.5 million. Although it would take about 30,000 cubic yards of "slightly contaminated material" to properly cap the eight- to 10-acre parcel, EndCap determined that 650,000 cubic yards, or 780,000 tons, would be needed to make a viable profit. Conti noted that because the contract between Attleboro Landfill and EndCap is private, residents might never know how much of a profit EndCap will make.
Former Attleboro City Councilor Roxanne Houghton expressed concerns over the reliability of the cap.
"A portion of the dump is capped now, and it's leaking," said Houghton, who called that a health concern.
"These caps, they are not very durable," Weydt said.
The layer of material is made up of debris from demolition sites and could include brick, wood, sand, steel and numerous other items. The material would be approved under conditions stated by Massachusetts DEP. However, "acceptable" and non-hazardous amounts of arsenic, chromium and other substances may be found in the material as well.
This material would be delivered by at least 35 trucks per day from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday for about three years. They would travel from the Bay Street exit off of Route 495 in Taunton, going through Myles Standish Boulevard, Eddy Street, John Scott Boulevard, South Worcester Street and Union Road. Trucks leaving the facility would follow Peckham Street, Pike Avenue, Starkey Street, Holden Street and North Main Street to Route 95.
Weydt said the main area for concern is Pike Avenue. A no-through trucking ordinance was passed for this street in 1992 to increase the life expectancy of Bearcroft Bridge. The street also contains a 70-degree corner known to be the site of many vehicle crashes.
"We are not in this alone," Weydt said. "Norton and Taunton are concerned about this as well. Norton residents have a strong resolve on the issue of contaminated materials and trucks coming through their town. What concerns me is the strong opposition from Norton. I feel like that could possibly result in EndCap maybe wanting to have trucks come both ways in and out of Attleboro."
The 2009 agreement signed by Dumas and EndCap president Kurt Schulte says that EndCap would pay Attleboro a 25-cent-per-ton tipping fee of delivered material. EndCap has also offered Norton 25 cents per ton. Taunton has not been offered a tipping fee, but has requested $1 per ton.
Many leaders have said they favored using the railroad to deliver the fill material for the landfill. EndCap has deemed the so-called rail option as "not feasible." The company said using the rail would require more debris to defray the added costs.
Weydt and Conti said using the rail would be a difficult route since different companies own pieces of it. The company would have to pay certain fees and find a way around commuting and existing freight schedules. He also noted that the rail doesn’t reach the landfill property.
"The mayor promised me that he would use his position as leverage toward the rail option," Conti said. "It's not a good option. We are going to wind up with trucks one day with whatever happens with this landfill. I think that's inevitable.”
He added, "There will be another proposal."
Dumas attended a portion of the meeting, leaving prior to the question and answer session. Attleboro health agent Jim Mooney was also in attendance. He approached the microphone, but left after Conti asked him to wait for Ward 4 residents and non-administrators to finish speaking.
The commenting deadline for residents to submit letters is Sept. 28. They may be emailed to EndCap representative Kurt Schulte at firstname.lastname@example.org and Mark Dakers of the Massachusetts DEP at Mark.Dakers@state.ma.us. A status report is due in December at the magistrate of DEP from Attleboro Landfill regarding the future plans to cap and close Phase B.
A video of the meeting is expected to air on DoubleACS next week.