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Mayor Calls Landfill Agreement 'Last-Case Scenario'

The City Council will consider a resolution calling for an alternative plan to be developed for the capping of the Attleboro Landfill.

Speaking before the City Council on Tuesday, Mayor Kevin Dumas defended his signing of an agreement that would allow thousands of trucks to travel through Attleboro after delivering contaminated material to a local landfill as part of a plan to cap the environmentally dangerous site as ordered by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

Dumas told the council he would prefer the material be delivered to the site on Peckham Street in Attleboro near the Norton line via railroad. City Councilor Jonathan Weydt asked him why he signed the 2009 trucking route deal with the soil/sediment management firm EndCap Technology if he favored the use of rail. Dumas responded that a "last-case scenario" was needed if a rail plan did not materialize.

"We need to be in the position to be able to go through and have something in place," Dumas said. "We're not going to wait until something gets shoved down our throat [by the Massachusetts DEP]."

Weydt, who wrote  about the agreement last week on Patch that the mayor called , said at Tuesday's meeting that signing the deal for a truck route prior to finalizing a preferred rail plan was "putting the cart before the horse."

The Massachusetts DEP issued an enforcement order for the landfill to be capped in the 1990s. The capping was completed on a portion of the site in 2002, but an eight-acre section remains exposed, presenting a threat of groundwater contamination and other dangers.

Landfill owner Albert Dumont says he does not have the money to finish the job. EndCap is willing to cover the cost on the condition it be allowed to deliver 650,000 cubic yards of "slightly contaminated material" to the site. Using trucks, the plan would take an estimated three to four years with at least 35 vehicles making deliveries six days a week from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Rail delivery would take several more years, but backers say it would be better because it would not damage local roads.

The 2009 agreement signed by Dumas and EndCap President Kurt Schulte does not include the all the details about the capping plan, but rather only the portion featuring the route through Attleboro the empty trucks would take after delivering the material. Also as part of the agreement, EndCap would pay Attleboro 25 cents per ton of delivered material.

The remainder of the plan, including the route the loaded trucks would take through Norton (which EndCap has also offered 25 cents per ton) and Taunton (which has been offered nothing and is asking for $1 per ton) to reach the landfill, is included in other documentation, but not in any official agreement.

Also at the meeting on Tuesday, the council voted 11-0 (Councilor Mark Cooper was absent) for council committees to consider two proposals. One proposal is a resolution written by Councilor Walter Thibodeau, who said Council President Frank Cook helped with the "wordsmithing." The resolution calls for the Massachusetts DEP and EndCap "to develop an alternative plan ... minimizing the impact on the residents of Attleboro, Taunton, and Norton, while simultaneously reducing the expense involved in this process."

The Committee on Transportation & Traffic, which Thibodeau heads, will consider the resolution next week. If OK'd by the committee, the resolution would go before the full council the following week for possible ratification prior to the Sept. 28 deadline to submit comments on the plan to the Massachusetts DEP.

The other proposal approved on Tuesday for committee review came from Councilor Richard Conti, who wants an ordinance written that would require the city to receive a payment of $2.52 per ton of material delivered "for access by truck on public ways to an established, reopened or new landfill."

Those wishing to submit comments on the capping plan should send them to Mark Dakers of the Massachusetts DEP at Mark.Dakers@state.ma.us.

Donna Kepner September 05, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Why is no one talking about the "contaminated" fill the EndCap wants to use? As the next door neighbor of the landfill, the area surrounding my yard is full of trash - bricks, glass, and all sorts of other things. I have to limit the areas where my dogs walk around because I never know what we'll find. And they want to bring in more trash? No thank you. Use clean fill.
Roxanne Houghton September 05, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Last evening the Mayor or Attleboro made the following statement to the City Council: It was necessary (the Agreement) to protect the city in the event that the state DEP brings down the hammer and imposes an immediate resolution to the capping issue and requires capping to commence without further input." I spoke to DEP this morning. They know about this statement and it a false statement - meant to justify the signing of this horrific agreement with no input from our residents. I am deeply offended that such a false statement was made to me, as a resident and taxpayer of this city. Misleading residents and threatening them with DEP actions is not in anyone's best interests. An apology is owed to everyone that heard that statement.
Dolly September 05, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Thank you to Councilors Weydt and Conti for delving into this issue feet first to represent the citizens of Attleboro while getting their information directly and proactively. And to the residents of Wards 4 and 3 who are staying on top of the issue. Conti's ordinance follows some form of M.G.L. You'd have thought that before signing a legally binding document the administration would have had the city solicitor review it. I've read it. There isn't a legal opt out for the City of Attleboro just as EndCaps lawyer says.
Dolly September 05, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Another law suit waiting to happen.
Gretchen Robinson September 05, 2012 at 10:02 PM
I live off North Main Street. Every workday, streams of trash trucks go by heading for Route 95. It's a loud, smelly annoyance and I worry about the toxicity of particulate matter from tires and exhaust. The EPA has cited haulers for creating an environmental nuisance already. (I see this gunk when I clean the gutters and windowsills). But having dump trucks carry toxic materials through residential neighborhoods is far more intolerable, both for Norton and for Attleboro. Even when truckers put a tarp over it, some of the toxic dirt will inevitably blow into surrounding yards. There needs to be a better way to keep families safe and find a manageable solution. I think this is more than a local (city) and state problem. We need to be working on a national level, too.
Wayne Lacroix September 06, 2012 at 11:27 AM
"We need to be in the position to be able to go through and have something in place," Dumas said. "We're not going to wait until something gets shoved down our throat [by the Massachusetts DEP]." The Massachusetts DEP issued the enforcement order in the 1990s. I don't think they were in any rush. "last-case scenario" was needed if a rail plan did not materialize. so the mayor signs a 6 year deal for a truck route without residents knowing. It looks like he is back-peddling to cover up his errors and save face with the pissed off masses.
Gretchen Robinson September 06, 2012 at 09:02 PM
like most of us, I suspect, I'm in favor of transparency. It saves a lot of later embarrassment if not rancor. Good leadership features transparency not fait accompli.
Sandy Miller September 06, 2012 at 11:09 PM
Roxanne - You determined rather quickly that the mayor made a false statement due to you contacting the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). With whom did you speak to? It is a large organization so I am sure you must have gone to someone intimate with the subject to get accurate information? Please share so we can weigh both assertions. Also, you imply you have not had an opportunity for input. Did you attend the recent public meeting to voice your opinion? Here is the link: http://www.thesunchronicle.com/attleboro/landfill-meeting-set-aug-in-norton/article_912987c6-04f8-5a0a-90ec-25aa8458e682.html Lastly, it appears this agreement is a safety net to Attleboro residents as a back-up to an agreement between Endcap and ALI (Attleboro Landfill Inc.). As I read it, only empty trucks would be traveling through Attleboro and the mayor was putting in place an agreement that Endcap would adhere to all rules and regulations if and when they used our public roads. He would also be charging them a “toll” for their use. Would you be willing to speak to the mayor about this and get back to us? Also, would you be so humble as to issue him a public apology if it is determined you misunderstood the situation?
Roxanne Houghton September 07, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Sandy.....its not I who misunderstands this situation. Do your homework
Gretchen Robinson September 07, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Roxanne, a little patience might be in order. Not everyone is giving this the attention that you seem to do. That's admirable on your part, but you may have to clarify and make the links again in order for everyone to get up to speed. For example, set up a timeline (if you have time or interest). Educate don't automatically dismiss people who have busy lives and many commitments--but still want to keep up with the issue.
Wayne Lacroix September 12, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Sandy Miller, I'm sorry but u lost credibility when u said; 1) "It appears this agreement is a safety net to Attleboro residents as a back-up to an agreement between Endcap and ALI". Sandy, What agreement does this back up? Your statement makes no sense. 2) "Only empty trucks would be traveling through Attleboro and the mayor was putting in place an agreement that Endcap would adhere to all rules and regulations if and when they used our public roads." Sandy When was the mayor putting in place an agreement that Endcap would adhere to the rules that you mention? AND trucks empty or not seem to be one of the main concerns of the people who live on that route. 3) "He would also be charging them a “toll” for their (road) use." Sandy, 25 cents per ton is peanuts and wouldn't even amount to enough money to repair 1 road
Jerry Chase October 01, 2012 at 12:50 AM
"Last-case scenario", eh? Why is it that it appears that the only one who knew about the city contract with trucking firm EndCap was . . . Kevin Dumas . . AND for a good three years. On the face of it, there is the strong odor of the City being sold out for someone's gain. I wonder who that might be.

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