Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


January 2, 2014

Answers needed on toxic sludge handling

Editor, Townsman:

I read with concern the article in last week’s Townsman (“Toxic sludge case settled,” Dec. 26) regarding the $500,000 payment related to “toxic sludge” disposal. While I was surprised that Andover DPW personnel were directed to dispose of material with such problematic properties in a sewer draining to a wetland, I was more upset about the fact that this contaminated sludge (arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel, etc. in “high concentrations”) was settled from our drinking water.

We regularly receive an annual report from the Water Department showing extremely low heavy metal content in our drinking water, yet, on standing, this hazardous waste settles out. We need to hear from the town why we should not be afraid to drink the water. After that, we need to understand why and by whom this disposal methodology was deemed acceptable ... seeing that this decision cost the town $500,000 of my tax money.

Walter R. Niessen, P.E.

14 Forbes Lane

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