Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


November 21, 2013

Town hits back on tainted sludge, water charges

New report asserts 'no significant risk to human health'

Local officials, backed by an engineering report, are hitting back at property owner James Berberian’s allegations that the town failed to clean up his Bancroft Road property and may also have contaminated the water supply.

Town attorney Tom Urbelis spoke at last week’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting, quoting extensively from a report by engineering firm CDM-Smith, which states that contrary to what Berberian has said, there is no risk to human health on his property.

“An imminent hazard does not exist at the 2-4 Bancroft Road site,” says the report, which was filed with the state Department of Environmental Protection after a similar report by the town’s consulting engineers as rejected last year.

“A condition of no significant risk to human health exists” at the site, the report sags.

Urbelis cited the report in response to allegations by Berberian that in November 2010 when town workers dumped toxic sludge onto his property, they failed to clean it up adequately.

Berberian claims that after the dumping of the silt that collects on the bottom of water tanks, there was a large area of wetland on his property that was contaminated.

He said the town sent a vacuum truck to clean up the sludge, but only a portion of the material was removed.

The rest, he said, remains on the site and is actually migrating downstream onto property owned by Phillips Andover Academy.

But the 90-page report released Nov. 7 by CDM-Smith asserts that the contaminated material has been removed and that whatever contamination is left in the wetland is from other sources.

“Based on the remedial activities conducted in the wetland, all sources of metals associated with the sediment released from the Bancroft Road water tank have been eliminated or controlled” in accordance with state law,” the report says.

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