Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

October 31, 2013

Berberian storms Selectman's meeting

Bancroft Road resident says town's water supply tainted

A man suing the town for dumping of toxic sludge on his property in 2010 now claims that the town’s water supply may also be contaminated.

James Berberian, of 2-4 Bancroft Road, went before the Board of Selectmen Monday night in an attempt to speak to town officials about what he said was a potential public health problem on his property and possibly in town water.

“There is a significant risk to human health,” he said, as a crowd of more than 50 people, some standing in the hallway outside the third floor conference room at Town Hall, looked on. “This report shows exposure and significant risk to the residents of Andover.”

As he held up a report done by a contractor working for the town, Berberian was gaveled out of order by the chairman as Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski attempted to talk over him and drown out his words.

“Are you aware of this report?” Berberian asked repeatedly. Selectmen ignored him and Stapczynski continued to speak about the item that was on the board’s agenda — financing of the Andover Youth Center (see related story). “It shows there is arsenic in the (Bancroft School) water tank.”

Eventually, one of the Selectmen called police and Berberian was told to stop speaking. Two officers showed up.

“They tried to shut me down and called the cops,” Berberian said. “I wanted to talk about the issues with Selectmen.”

Selectmen Chairman Alex Vispoli explained that Berberian couldn’t speak because last night’s meeting was a one-item agenda to discuss changes to the contract between Selectmen and the Andover Youth Foundation over financing of the teen center.

Berberian and others asked at the end of the meeting if the matter could be placed on the agenda for next week’s meeting. Vispoli said that was possible, but not guaranteed.

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