Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

January 24, 2013

Town will be asked to buy land contaminated by former landfill

By Dustin Luca
Staff Writer

---- — Leaders will ask Annual Town Meeting voters to spend $775,000 to buy private land contaminated by the town’s former landfill.

The property, located at 138 Chandler Road, is a 11.5-acre lot of land that owner Bob Park Jr. said has been used historically as part of his farm. The whole parcel of land is 58 acres in size, according to assessor’s records.

The town operated its now-closed Ledge Road landfill next to the Park property up until the 1970s, and the trash eventually “migrated onto Mr. Park’s property,” Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski said.

After years of using the landfill, “we did a survey of the site,” Stapczynski said. “We found that, indeed, some of the trash was placed over the (property) line.”

Of the 11.5 acres of land the town will consider purchasing, “a fraction” of that private land had garbage dumped on it. The town will seek to buy the majority of the land to remediate it from contamination caused by the landfill, according to Stapczynski.

The article will “take the land behind the landfill, cap it and take care of the drainage” so water draining from the landfill stops contaminating abutting land, Park said.

But the problem doesn’t end there, according to Park.

“The back of the dump, you look at the water that’s running out there, feeding into Fish Brook,” he said. “It would gag a maggot.”

When asked about how the landfill affected Fish Brook, which feeds into the town’s drinking water supply at Haggett’s Pond, Stapczynski said he wasn’t prepared to cover the finer details, though water runoff is “part of why we’re buying 11.5 acres instead of just an acre.”

“We’ve known this for a period of time,” he said. “This acquisition has been on our radar screen for this project for five or six years.”

While he says the town was “not very good neighbors,” Parks said he’s been fighting with officials for decades to have the problem taken care of. Going into Annual Town Meeting, he’s pleased the battle is reaching an end.

“I’ve been doing this and spending a lot of money on lawyers and engineers. It gets to a point, how much can you spend?” he said. “You have to bite the bullet somewhere. This is probably a step in the right direction.”

The article is one of at least 59 coming to Annual Town Meeting. The event will start at the Collins Center Field House on Monday, April 29 at 7 p.m.

For feedback or story-related inquiries, email dluca@andovertownsman.com.