Updated 1/22/2017

Crow Lane Landfill Chronology
Through January 23, 2017

Note:  Constructed from documents and news reports and may not be complete. Has not been verified and may contain errors.

 

1/7/17

The Massachusetts attorney general visits Newburyport for a “town hall meeting” at city hall but offers no updates on the landfill closure process or negotiations with the landfill owner.

9/23/16

The Massachusetts attorney general visits the Crow Lane landfill and promises city officials and residents that she will be meeting with the owners of the landfill within the next few weeks to settle the issues preventing closure of the landfill.

9/1/16

In an email to a few residents, the Newburyport mayor says she spoke “for a while” with the Massachusetts attorney general about the role of the Attorney General’s Office in the landfill closure, but still does not understand why the office has no further authority or power “to address this ongoing disaster.”

The mayor added that she is meeting with the attorney general in mid-September to discuss “how we can get this finished.”

8/23/16

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport has the headline, “Odors cause stink again around Crow Lane landfill.” The article reports that residents have been reporting obnoxious odors in recent days.

The article quotes the Newburyport mayor as saying, “I have never been so frustrated in the inability of Office of the Attorney Gneral and the Department of Environmental Protection in bringing this protracted closure process to an end despite efforts through the court system.”

The article continues, quoting the mayor’s statement, “I spoke directly to Attorney General Maura Healey about this major problem. I am hopeful that Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives and I will be able to schedule a meeing here in Newburyport.”

The same article states that the firm that owns the landfill contends “that they are following state guidelines for the closing.”

8/1/16

After receiving an odor complaint from a resident by email, the Newburyport mayor promises to contact the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to find the cause and correct it.

A resident reports by email that he heard that some landfill odors “are coming from two tanks that are at the flare.” He asks about the purpose of the tanks and how they are maintained.

In an email response, the Newburyport mayor says she will forward the questions about the tanks to the DEP and report back when she receives an answer.

7/29/16

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows that the monitoring system was not operating between 2:29 pm on 7/28/16 and 1:48 pm on 7/29/16.

7/26/16

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows that the monitoring system was not operating between 4:58 pm on 7/22/16 and 10:36 am on 7/26/16.

7/18/16

In an email response to the 7/17 odor complaint, the mayor relays the following response, apparently from the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP):

We did not receive any emails on the MassDEP Crow Lane email account from [the Wilson Way resident]. The flare was restarted on Monday July 11 and ran all week except for Saturday July 16th when it failed to start due to Low temperature. The flare did start and ran on Sunday July 17th. The flare is scheduled to restart today a little before 3pm.

CB&I [DEP’s engineering consultant] was onsite and did their inspection on Friday July 15th. Slight odors were detected at [monitoring well numbers] EW-5, 6, 8 and 9 and at the flare. CB&I took readings of the gas quality on Friday and inlet to the pretreatment tanks was 2000 ppm H2S and after pretreatment H2S was 10 ppm H2S which is within normal range.

In her email, the mayor added this to the DEP response:

NV [New Ventures, the landfill owner] has been resistant to complete a 3rd odor scan and I am questioning if this scan was requested to address the odors from the above wells. Also if the levels were so high on Friday, I questioned the programmed schedule of the flare and asked for more details.

Why is this still happening? Apparently are only recourse was through the court but the Judge was unwilling to move forward on the contempt trial as I recall he stated we would not get the appropriate outcome we are seeking. It is very frustrating that there seems to be no legal means to force this process to closure. I have reached out directly to AD Healey and Senator Ives and I are trying to meet ASAP.

7/17/16

Wilson Way resident reports by email to mayor about strong odors from landfill causing nausea, headache and sleeplessness starting late the previous night.

7/11/16

After receiving an email complaint about landfill odors, the mayor reports by email that the landfill flare had stopped working but was now operational again.

6/30/16

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows that the monitoring system was not operating between 3:51 pm on 6/29/16 and 2:30 pm on 6/30/16. Readings while the monitor was working showed hydrogen sulfide levels up to 3 parts per billion.

6/24/16

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows that the monitoring system was not operating between 4:01 pm on 6/23/16 and 1:50 pm on 6/24/16. Readings while the monitor was working showed hydrogen sulfide levels up to 3 parts per billion.

6/21/16

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows that the monitoring system was not operating between 3:28 pm on 6/14/16 and 3:27 pm on 6/16/16, and between 3:06 pm on 6/19/16 and 9:15 am on 6/21/16.

6/16/16

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows that the monitoring system was not operating between 3:28 pm on 6/14/16 and 1:47 pm on 6/16/16.

6/9/16

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 4 parts per billion from 1:02 pm to 8:51 pm on 6/4/16.

6/7/16

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 5 parts per billion from 12:52 pm to 5:02 pm on 6/9/16.

5/31/16

In an email to residents, the Newburyport mayor said she met on May 13th with State Senator Ives, State Representative Rep Kelcourse, Mark Reich, Kopelman & Paige, Matt Ireland, Asst. AG, Chief of Environmental Protection Division, Christopher Courchesne and Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (MA DEP) officials Gary Moran and Beth Riportella.

The mayor reported that New Ventures (the landfill owner), Mass. Attorney General’s Office officials, and MA DEP representatives met several times since their last court appearance on 9/18/15 to work out the remaining work. After these meetings, an agreement was reached and this is a summary of work:

·         A section of slope was repaired.

·         Two comprehensive odor scans completed for fugitive emissions followed by repairs to the wells; following the second scan polyurethane covers placed over wells.

·         The flare has been operating well for the past 6 months (reported by Blue Granite, a contractor hired by New Ventures), PLC (programmable logic controller) installed to adjust flare running time.

Attorney General’s office officials requested a third odor scan. Also, protocols for site operations and maintenance are needed before closure moves forward.

The mayor said she and Senator Ives raised concerns about the flare and their lack of confidence “in the system that has consistently had problems.” She also said she has “many questions of post-closure responsibility and repairs etc.”

The mayor also reported that Senator Ives has placed funding in the 2017 budget for a flare replacement, if needed, and that she requested that the trailer on the landfill site be removed.

The mayor’s report also said she has spoken with the attorney general directly “about the length of time this has gone on and why there is no legal mechanism in place to hold someone who has done this much damage accountable for their actions.”

5/31/16

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 4 parts per billion from 1:51 pm on 5/26/16 to 2:42 am on 5/27/16.

5/26/16

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 4 parts per billion from 3:32 pm to 10:32 pm on 5/23/16.

5/19/16

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 4 parts per billion from 3:23 pm to 8:23 pm on 5/17/16.

5/5/16

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports, ”Like the swallows returning to Capistrano or the Red Sox beginning another year at Fenway, residents’ complaints about smells from the Crow Lane landfill are again being registered with city and state officials.”

The article also reports that the lawyer for the landfill owner said the company, New Ventures LLC, “has been diligent in its efforts to eradicate foul air.” The company’s lawyer said he visited the landfill on May 1 with the landfill owner and “made a real effort, but smelled nothing.”

According to the report:

City officials have been trying for years to compel New Ventures [the landfill owner] to effectively seal the landfill. City officials have sought the help of state leaders to get the job done.

The state Attorney General’s office had filed a contempt complaint against New Ventures, and the state Department of Environmental Protection had been monitoring the situation.

But in October 2014, a Superior Court judge declined to impose contempt charges against New Ventures.

Justice Robert B. Gordon strongly urged the company and the city to work together to finish the job.

The state also charged that the company has not fulfilled its obligations for closure under the “Final Judgement” of the state Superior Court issued in April 2009.

5/4/16

After hearing about recent odor complaints, the Newburyport mayor sends an email to residents reporting that she spoke to MA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) officials on May 3 and they told her that New Ventures (the landfill owner) “has completed very little if any of the work negotiated.” She also says she is “absolutely amazed” that the State of Massachusetts “has no legal recourse with this owner.”

The mayor promises to arrange a meeting with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office and the DEP to discuss the matter.

4/5/16

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 4 parts per billion from 12:40 pm to 9:37 pm on 3/31/16.

3/31/16

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 4 parts per billion from 3:06 pm on 3/29/16 to 11:00 pm on 3/30/16.

3/24/16

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 4 parts per billion from 1:36 am to 12:50 pm on 3/24/16.

3/22/16

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 4 parts per billion from 6:39 am to 7:49 pm on 3/19/16.

3/15/16

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 4 parts per billion from 9:01 am on 3/13/16 to 2:30 am on 3/14/16.

1/12/16

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows hydrogen sulfide levels continuously between 2 and 4 parts per billion from 3:51 am on 1/11/16 to 1:50 am on 1/12/16.

12/31/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows hydrogen sulfide levels continuously between 2 and 4 parts per billion from 3:03 pm on 12/28/15 to 11:12 pm on 12/30/15.

10/23/15

Article by columnist Bill Plante in The Daily News of Newburyport comments on the great number of items awaiting resolution by Newburyport city councilors running in the November city election. The first item listed in the column is the Crow Lane landfill:

For those who may have missed this newspaper’s report, there are concerns reaching from long-term problems, probably the oldest among them being stench emanating from what, in my youth, used to be farmland for farmers and hunting grounds for me to put food on our table: the Crow Lane landfill.

That was long, long ago, and considering the difficulties to rid the area of its nose-wrenching, it will be something the new councilors will have to do that so many others have faced — preferably with handkerchiefs over their noses.

10/23/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 4 parts per billion from 4:23 am to 5:42 am and from 12:53 pm to 5:13 pm on 10/22/15.

10/22/15

In an email to Newburyport city councilors, the Newburyport mayor reports:

·         Last week, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) approved the plan submitted by SITEC (landfill owner’s engineer) for repair of the landfill side slope. Construction will not begin until next week, in part because information required by DEP from the landfill owner and SITEK 7 days before construction starts has not been received by DEP. The missing information is final construction details, including the construction schedule, specifications for construction materials (e.g., filter fabric, crushed stone) and the methods for data collection during construction to assure quality assurance and control. This information is expected tomorrow (10/23/15).

·         SITEC (with DEP) performed a surface scan at the top the landfill on October 8. Some odors were noticed and H2S was detected at three well heads or well head areas. Sampling ports on these three well heads have been replaced, according to the landfill owner. DEP will confirm the landfill owner’s report tomorrow.

·         Landfill gas well balancing, tuning and data collection were performed by the landfill owner’s gas system consultant, Blue Granite, with DEP present, on October 6.

·         Tonight, the landfill owner’s gas system consultant sent a preliminary plan for analyzing the gas system data collected on October 6 during well balancing, and how to use that data with historic data to make a recommendation for flare operation. The landfill owner and the consultant apparently will ask DEP for approval of a flare operation plan at a meeting tomorrow (10/23/15).

·         On 10/16/15, the landfill owner’s engineer sent DEP an “enhanced” construction quality assurance (CQA) section for landfill closure certification. DEP has questions about this CQA and will discuss them at tomorrow’s meeting.

·         Wetlands replication monitoring and monitoring reports are being reviewed by DEP.

·         DEP, MA Attorney General representatives, the Newburyport city attorney, and the landfill owner are meeting again today.

10/21/15

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the problems at the Crow Lane landfill were brought up “several times” during last evening’s debate among nine candidates running for city council in the November election. One incumbent councilor called the landfill issue “the biggest failure of municipal government.”

10/7/15

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), in an email to Newburyport residents and officials, says that on Tuesday, 10/6/15, the landfill owner’s consultant Blue Granite tuned and balanced the landfill gas system to optimize the quality and quantity of the gas flow to the pretreatment and flare system. The email said DEP personnel were present during the activity and “it is typical to periodically balance and tune landfill gas collection systems for this purpose.”

The same email reports that on 10/08/15, the engineer of record, SITEC, will look for landfill gas leaks on top of the landfill, and that DEP will be present. It adds, “Landfill gas leaks may occur for a variety of reasons, including due to settling of the waste. Any leaks that are detected would then be scheduled for repair.”

The email warns residents that the landfill gas flare will be turned off on October 7 and 8 to help locating leaks. The flare will be back on “its current cycling schedule” when the leak inspection has been completed.

9/30/15

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office reports by email about the September 22 court-ordered meeting among lawyers representing the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the landfill owner. Also present at the meeting were the landfill Engineer of Record and the landfill gas system and flare consultant.

According to the email report, the landfill owner, its engineer and gas system consultant have agreed to address the following ongoing issues and work that must be performed by the landfill owner as part of the landfill closure process:

·         Investigating and properly repairing sources of fugitive landfill gas emissions from any leaks in areas around the gas wellheads atop the landfill.

·         Addressing problems with flare performance.

·         Submitting a revised corrective action plan for repairing the southeast side of the landfill to the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection. This side of the landfill has partially slumped due to issues in the sand drainage layer.

The report states that detecting and sealing small gas leaks and assuring proper flare performance are important to prevent odors from affecting residential neighborhoods around the landfill.

The report also says the landfill owner placed the landfill complaint line (978-462-5240), which had been disconnected for several weeks, back into service.

In a follow-up email to residents the same day, the Attorney General’s office states that “work at the landfill should start soon and New Ventures [the landfill owner] has agreed to move forward promptly.”

The follow-up email also says the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection personnel will be present when the engineer of record inspects for gas leaks and when the gas system and flare consultant is adjusting the gas system and collecting gas system information.

9/18/15

At a status hearing in superior court about the Massachusetts Attorney General’s contempt complaint filed in September 2014, the judge orders lawyers representing the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the landfill owner to meet within the next few days to determine whether they can develop a new agreement for closing the landfill or continue with the contempt complaint.

The Newburyport mayor, the Newburyport city lawyer, the state representative for the Newburyport area, and an assistant to the state senator for the Newburyport area and four Newburyport residents attend the status hearing.

8/28/15

The Crow Lane landfill complaint line (978-462-5240) still answers with a recorded message stating the number is no longer in service.

8/27/15

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that “residents have complained in recent days of noxious odors” and that the complaint telephone line is not operating.

The article states that the acting solid waste section chief and regional director of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said, “state officials are insistent that New Ventures [the landfill owner] make appropriate changes.”

8/25/15

After multiple odor complaints and reports from Newburyport residents that the landfill owner’s complaint telephone line has been disconnected, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issues an email report stating:

·         On 8/24/15, the state notified the landfill owner’s representatives that the programmable logic controller at the landfill was no longer reporting the flare’s operational status and related data. As a result, DEP cannot tell if the flare is operating.

·         DEP’s consultant (CBI/Shaw) reported that the flare was not operating as of 7:02 am today. DEP notified the landfill owner’s representatives about the problem.

·         New Ventures’ landfill gas consultant, Blue Granite, notified the sub-contractor, United Automation, about the malfunction, and United Automation visited the landfill yesterday and today.

·         DEP received data late today indicating the flare attempted to restart automatically last night, but failed to do so. Reportedly the cell phone communication unit has a problem, but the automated messages are once again being generated and sent as of 3:43 p.m. today. The DEP was told the flare is set to restart at 9:00 p.m. tonight.

·         In addition to recent odor complaints, DEP has received complaints from several residents that the Crow Lane landfill complaint line (978-462-5240) has been disconnected. The Commonwealth promptly relayed those complaints to the landfill owner’s representatives yesterday and confirmed that calls to the number receive a recorded message stating the number is no longer in service.

·         Email complaints to the Crow Lane Information mailbox regarding any perceived odors or issues at or near the Landfill may allow us to deploy inspectors real-time.

8/25/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 9 parts per billion from 6:04 am to 7:54 am on 8/24/15.

7/16/15

In an email to residents near the landfill, the Newburyport mayor reports that Shaw Engineering (Mass. DEP’s consultant) was at the landfill July 14 and will also be there July 16 or July 17 to investigate the odor complaints.

The mayor reported the flare has turned on and cycled as programmed every day this month. According to the email, the flare is set to run daily from 11:30 am to 9:30 pm. Because of the odor complaints, the mayor requested that the operating time be changed “to the night hours into the morning.” The mayor said she would send a notification when this schedule change has been made.

7/15/15

After numerous landfill odor complaints, the Newburyport mayor sends an email to residents near the landfill stating, “I had truly hoped we were beyond this problem of H2S impacting the neighborhood.”

She also expresses her concern about whether the revised joint modification order required by the judge is being completed. Her doubts arise, she says, because “there is no work occurring on site.”

6/22/15

In an email to Newburyport city councilors, the Newburyport mayor reports that the superior court judge granted the landfill owner additional time to complete the work needed to begin closure negotiations. “Apparently this decision related to the winter conditions and difficultly accessing and completing the repairs,” she states in the email.

The email also states that the superior court judge wants a new, revised joint modification order from the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection and the landfill owner, “with September as the final date for completion.” The mayor says a contempt trial will most likely begin at that point, but she hopes that this order will be completed this summer to the satisfaction of DEP and the Mass. attorney general’s office so closure procedures can begin.

She also reports the following repair status items:

·         Some gas leaks on top of landfill have been repaired, but the quality of work is in question and a re-inspection with possible additional repairs will take place.

·         Serious erosion has been noted on the southeastern side of the landfill. The DEP engineer questioned why drainage is not working and requested redesign of stormwater system to return to original design or better. The landfill owner is working on this.

·         The flare is cycling correctly at this time, turning on after cycling off, although there were problems with this for some time. Questions remain about the long term reliability of this system because of numerous problems.

4/4/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 5 parts per billion from 11:26 am on 4/13/15 to 7:46 am on 4/14/15.

4/9/15

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the mid-April deadline for a conference to review the status of the landfill closing has been postponed to June 15 in the interest of “judicial economy.”

The article states:

Spokesmen for New Ventures, which owns the property, say that work is being done on the site and they will be able to file a more complete report in June.

The article continues:

City leaders here have been trying to compel New Ventures to close the landfill for years.

They appealed to the state Department of Environmental Protection, which is now representing them in current court sessions as part of the effort to close and seal the site. Neighbors say it still emits noxious odors on occasion.

3/31/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 4 parts per billion from 9:58 am and 8:37 pm on 3/29/15.

3/27/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 8 parts per billion from 6:50 pm to 8:40 pm on 3/26/15.

3/20/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 4 parts per billion from 6:46 pm on 3/17/15 to 12:04 am on 3/20/15.

3/17/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 4 parts per billion from 12:07 pm to 6:27 pm on 3/13/15 and from 12:16 pm to 6:55 pm on 3/16/15.

3/13/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 4 parts per billion from 9:33 am to 10:43 pm on 3/10/15, and from 11:42 am to 5:23 pm on 3/11/15.

3/3/15

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the newly appointed Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs visited the landfill on 3/2/15 and met with the Newburyport mayor, the state senator and representative for the district, the city councilor for the ward containing the landfill, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regional director, and a neighborhood representative.

The article says the purpose of the visit was “to inform new decision-makers of the need to put pressure on New Ventures Associates LLC [the landfill owner] to make mandated repairs to the Crow Lane landfill so it can be closed and permanently sealed.” The report says the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs learned about “the challenges the city and residents have endured with closing the private landfill.”

The article states:

The new cabinet head said his department “will do what we can to help,” but no specific initiatives were announced.

The effort to close the troublesome landfill has been dragging along for close to a decade and yesterday’s meeting appeared to signal that local officials want the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker to become acquainted with the problem so top leaders can help.

The article also reports that improvements to the landfill agreed upon in a mediation document from court action last fall have not been made, according to the Newburyport mayor.

Contacted for the article, the landfill owner’s lawyer said he was surprised that a meeting was held about the landfill. He said the landfill owner “has completed all agreed upon tasks except for the limited work necessary the certification for final closure.”

But the article adds that the DEP regional director said yesterday that the landfill owner “has not been making the full range of improvements that had been agreed upon.” A chief complaint, says the article, is that the flare for burning off noxious gases often shuts down, sending fumes throughout nearby neighborhoods.

The article reports that the DEP regional director said deadlines for many court-ordered improvements come up this spring. They include a flare system that doesn’t fail and an effective gas extraction system.

The article also reports that the state representative for the district said during the meeting: “We need executive assistance to develop a stringent policy against this company (and its president, William Thibeault), and possibly to have the Attorney General’s office pursue him criminally.”

2/27/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 4 parts per billion from 9:28 am to 8:59 pm on 2/24/15, and from 9:38 am on 2/25/15 to 6:48 pm on 2/26/15.

2/26/15

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issues an email report about the landfill. It states:

·         New Ventures (landfill owner) and the Commonwealth are scheduled to appear and provide an update to the Superior Court in mid-April 2015 as ordered by the court on November 5, 2014.

·         In November, 2014, New Ventures and its consultant SITEC identified repair areas around landfill gas extraction wells EW-5, EW-6, EW-8, EW-9 and EW-14, which had previously been identified by SITEC as areas that should be further explored. A few leaks were discovered and some repairs were made. No further work will be done on these areas until the snow melts. After that, any additional required repairs will be made. MassDEP personnel and/or its consultant will continue to observe any inspections and any repairs.

·         On February 11 New Ventures consultant Blue Granite and its subcontractor United Automation, Inc. were onsite at the landfill under MassDEP observation. During that day, the landfill gas flow meter was reinstalled after being recalibrated by the manufacturer. installation of a new programmable logic controller (PLC), including testing to verify that the PLC as programmed will control the main LF gas valve, damper and shut down the system if temperature of the flare (generally required to be at 1600F) goes below 1400F, and testing the PLC notification capability, which had been programmed to provide real-time notices of the landfill gas flare operation and replacing the autodialer.

·         Following installation of the PLC, the flare ran for approximately 30 hours before shutting down. New Ventures claims cold weather caused part of the pretreatment system to freeze. The Commonwealth has requested New Ventures to submit a plan to address the freeze-up or other issues preventing the flare from running.

·         On January 19, 2015, New Ventures’ consultant and engineer of record, SITEC, submitted a response to the Notice of Technical Deficiency (NOTD) on the closure application that MassDEP had issued on November 19, 2014, as provided by the November order. A copy of the NOTD is posted on the MassDEP website. MassDEP is currently reviewing the SITEC response, and notes that SITEC reports that there are several issues that they plan to address after the winter ends and the snow has melted.

·         MassDEP and/or personnel from MassDEP’s consultant Shaw Environmental Inc. continue to monitor the landfill on a regular basis. MassDEP and/or Shaw personnel are scheduled to be at the landfill several times per week.

·         Real-time emails to the Crow Lane Information mailbox (CInformation@MassMail.State.MA.US) regarding odors or other issues at or near the landfill allow DEP to deploy inspectors real-time.

2/20/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 5 parts per billion from 11:31 am to 7:41 pm on 2/17/15, from 8:01 am to 9:11 pm on 2/18/15, and from 11:11 am on 2/19/15 to 11:10 am on 2/20/15.

2/17/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 5 parts per billion from 9:53 am on 2/13/15 to 5:53 pm on 2/14/15 and from 4:32 am on 2/16/15 to 6:43 am on 2/17/15.

2/13/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 5 parts per billion from 9:47 am on 2/10/15 to 9:56 pm on 2/12/15.

2/10/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels of 3 parts per billion from 10:55 am on 2/6/15 to 9:33 am on 2/10/15. The average hydrogen sulfide level from February 6-10 was 3 parts per billion.

2/3/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels of 3 parts per billion from 2:58 am on 1/31/15 to 9:26 am on 2/3/15. The average hydrogen sulfide level from January 30 to February 3 was 3 parts per billion.

1/30/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 5 and 8 parts per billion from 9:49 am on 1/26/15 to 1:07 pm on 1/30/15. The average hydrogen sulfide level from January 26-30 was 5 parts per billion.

1/26/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 5 and 7 parts per billion from 12:03 pm on 1/23/15 to 9:32 am on 1/26/15. The average hydrogen sulfide level from January 23-26 was 4 parts per billion.

1/23/15

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 5 and 7 parts per billion from 10:07 am on 1/20/15 to 11:46 am on 1/23/15. The average hydrogen sulfide level from January 20-23 was 5 parts per billion.

11/24/14

Appearing before the Newburyport city council at its bi-weekly meeting, the Newburyport mayor reports that she will be closely watching progress in completing the work outlined in the 11/5/14 Suffolk Superior Court order, including mitigation of gases escaping from the landfill cap and repairs to the flare system.

11/20/14

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issues a report stating:

·         The mowing of the entire landfill was completed prior to the November 20, 2014 deadline.

·         New Ventures (the landfill owner) and their consultant SITEC have been onsite this week to identify and repair areas around landfill gas extraction wells previously identified by SITEC as areas that should be further explored to identify leaks and make appropriate repairs. A few leaks were discovered and have been temporarily repaired, pending permanent repairs to be done in the coming days. SITEC is anticipated to be on site again tomorrow to continue this work. Areas that are identified as leaking are required to be repaired. MassDEP personnel have been and will continue to be onsite observing these inspections and any repairs.

·         On 11/14/14, New Ventures submitted to DEP a scope of work (dated November 13, 2014) for the inspection and balancing of the landfill gas control system, which was prepared by Blue Granite (BG), New Ventures’ landfill gas consultant. On November 19, 2014, DEP approved the scope of work for Blue Granite’s inspection and balancing of the landfill gas control system, including tuning of the extraction wells.

·         DEP issued on 11/19/14 a Notice of Technical Deficiency (NOTD) on the closure application and the September 2014 supplemental information that SITEC has submitted for the closure of the landfill.

·         DEP and/or personnel from its consultant, Shaw Environmental Inc., continue to monitor the landfill on a regular basis. DEP and/or Shaw personnel are scheduled to be at the landfill several times per week.

11/19/14

As required by the November 5 court order, DEP issued a Notice of Technical Deficiency (NOTD) on the closure application and the September 2014 supplemental information that SITEC has submitted for the closure of the landfill. The notice lists deficiencies in the information that has been submitted. New Ventures and SITEC must respond within 60 days. This NOTD is posted on the MassDEP website.

11/7/14

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports on the 11/5/14 Suffolk Superior Court order for completion of the landfill repairs.

11/5/14

Suffolk Superior Court stays the contempt action of 9/19/14 and approves a joint motion of the Massachusetts Attorney General and New Ventures Associates (the landfill owner) agreeing to an order for “the completion of necessary repairs and other work at the Landfill.”

The order requires the landfill owner to install a digital gas flow and flare temperature recorder and controller to operate the flare system as previously recommended by Blue Granite, the landfill owner’s contractor. The order requires the landfill owner to give the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) access to the controller for acquiring its recorded data.

The order also requires the landfill owner:

·         To have the thermal control device on the flare calibrated by the manufacturer

·         To inspect the pretreatment containers to detect any and all leaks and repair the leaks

·         To inspect (through the engineer of record for the landfill, SITEC Environmental), within 14 days of the order, the landfill cap to determine if it is leaking landfill gas and to repair all detected breaches or gas leaks within 14 days of the inspection. The landfill owner must also “thereafter maintain the cap to prevent gas leaks and repair any gas leaks.”

·         To submit for approval by DEP within 7 business days a scope of work for inspecting and balancing the landfill gas control system within 35 days of the order.

·         To repair and restore the auto dialer to full operation for notifying DEP, the landfill owner, and the Newburyport health agent of flare shutdown, unless the controller can be programmed to dial.

·         To mow the landfill area within 15 days of the order.

·         To notify DEP at least 2 business days in advance of any work or activity at the site.

·         To fully comply with paragraph 12(j) of the Final Judgment within 120 days of this order.

Within 60 days of receiving the DEP response to the landfill owner’s 9/17/14 letter addressing deficiencies, to address any deficiencies in the response.

Pending completion of the work above, the landfill owner must run the flare according to recommendations of Blue Granite, the landfill owner’s consultant.

The order allows payments to pay costs of contractors and equipment to perform activities required by this order to be taken from the financial assurance mechanism (FAM) established by the landfill owner at the beginning of the landfill capping project.

The landfill owner, DEP and the Office of the Attorney General must file a status report with the court within 150 days of this order.

The suspension of the state’s contempt action against the landfill owner will continue “pending compliance with this order.”

10/28/14

After receiving multiple odor complaints by email, the Newburyport mayor reports by email to residents that the Attorney General’s office, the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the landfill owner “have been in multiple conference calls and meetings over the last several weeks to reach consensus on closure.”

She adds that the three parties are “trying to resolve some issues,” and that the flare is running only “under supervision.” DEP is requesting staff to return today to manually restart the flare, according to the mayor’s email.

10/16/14

In an email to residents, the Newburyport mayor reports that additional landfill flare parts have been ordered and the flare was running for about 3 hours this afternoon.

10/16/14

In response to an email inquiry by a resident about the status of the worklist due to Superior Court by October 3, the Newburyport mayor explains that the judge’s instructions for reaching a consensus “is not an order per se but a directive to work out the final closure list” with the Attorney General’s office (AG), the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and the landfill owner. She says the judge “is pushing to work through the remaining issues to prevent a prolonged trial where we potentially could be stalled further on closure.”

The mayor also says that reports from DEP and AG “are more encouraging today than last week” and that she hopes to be able to report shortly “that consensus has been achieved.”

In addition, the mayor reports, “electrical issues” are contributing to problems with the landfill flare and that an electrical contractor from Portsmouth, NH, was at the landfill yesterday and today trying to resolve the problems.

10/14/14

Appearing before the Newburyport city council at its bi-weekly meeting, the Newburyport mayor reports that the landfill owner, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection have not yet “come to a consensus” about what needs to be done to correct problems at the landfill. Those parties had been ordered by a superior court judge to submit an agreed-upon work list to the court by October 3.

10/1/14

In an email to some residents near the landfill, the Newburyport mayor reports that the superior court judge for the 9/19/14 contempt complaint does not yet want to move to a full contempt trial. He ordered the parties in the suit (the landfill owner, Mass. Department of Environmental Protection, and the Mass. Office of the Attorney General) to submit an agreed-upon work list to the court by Friday [10/3/14].

Although not a party in the complaint, the mayor’s email said, the City of Newburyport “will be kept informed of each step.” She also said the court will keep jurisdiction through November 4 and she assumes the trial will proceed if progress has not been made by that time.

10/1/14

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that a superior court judge yesterday “refused to move forward on contempt charges” against the Crow Lane landfill owner that were filed by the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General on September 19.

Instead of moving ahead on the charges, the report states, the judge directed the city and the landfill owner to develop a schedule for correcting problems at the landfill.

The Newburyport mayor said the outcome “isn’t exactly what I had hoped for” but confirmed that problems at the landfill must be corrected and the landfill owner “is not being released from its obligations.”

The landfill owner reportedly repaired the landfill flare on September 30, but the news article says the company must resolve several other matters. These include repairing breaches in the landfill cap and submitting a landfill closure completion application.

The landfill owner’s lawyer told the news reporter that a status report on the remaining items necessary for closure is due in court on November 5.

9/26/14

News article in The Boston Globe reports that Newburyport officials asked the Massachusetts governor to release $3 million for maintenance of the Crow Lane landfill, “where the foul odor, residents say, has plagued them for about a decade.”

The state senator representing the district is quoted as saying, “This doesn’t negate the landfill owner’s responsibility to properly close the landfill, but this fund would empower the city to respond to any public safety issues after the landfill is closed.”

The report says the Newburyport mayor is frustrated because, she says, “this is the responsibility of New Ventures, who owns the landfill, and now we’re tapping into taxpayers’ money, from the state, to fix something that we shouldn’t have to fix.”

The article also says:

The city may have to wait until after the gubernatorial election in November, however. Krista Selmi, a spokeswoman for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said the funds are unlikely to be released until the next administration is in office, as the state’s capital spending budget for this year has already been approved.

9/25/14

Editorial in The Daily News of Newburyport says the newspaper staff has “lost track of the number of stories, letters and editorials written about the abysmally poor management of the landfill.” The editorial also says, “As has been the case for years, the best efforts, warnings and threats of local and state officials have been largely overwhelmed by New Ventures’ (the landfill owner’s) delays and utter disregard.”

The editorial continues:

We hope the state will finally get its pound of flesh out of Thibeault [owner of New Ventures], but if past practice is any indication, it won’t happen. This is a businessman who knows how to game the system.

Thibeault has mastered the art of the limited liability company. At last count, we found he had about 40 registered to himself in Massachusetts (there are more in other states).

The editorial says the newspaper has advocated for “criminal charges against Thibeault for the health problems inflicted on residents by his negligent management of the Crow Lane landfill.” It continues, “Certainly no other business or resident would be allowed to get away with inflicting so much nuisance and ill health effects without serious criminal ramifications.”

9/24/14

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports on the 9/19/14 complaint filing by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office. The news report says a preliminary hearing will take place on September 30 “to decide what happens next.”

The Newburyport mayor is reported to be pleased by the action, saying, “Hopefully this will be the final piece that will force New Ventures [the landfill owner] to follow the law.”

The lawyer representing the landfill owner “was surprised and disappointed by this action,” according to the report. He said, “We didn’t think it was necessary.”

9/19/14

Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office files a complaint for civil contempt in Suffolk Superior Court against New Ventures, LLC (the landfill owner), for “failing to close the Crow Lane landfill (‘Landfill’) and for violating other public health and safety requirements of this Court's final judgment entered on April 30, 2009 and amended by subsequent court orders (‘Final Judgment’).”

The complaint states:

The Landfill's gas control system and air pollution control equipment prevent noxious odors from plaguing area residents, but only when working properly in compliance with the maintenance and performance standards required by the Final Judgment. In contempt of the Final Judgment's requirements, New Ventures has failed to properly operate and maintain the landfill gas control system and air pollution control equipment, causing uncontrolled emissions of noxious hydrogen sulfide gas and, over the past two months, has increasingly resulted in nuisance odors in nearby residential neighborhoods, including as recently as July 20 and 31, August 1, 10, 11, 19, and 20, and September 7, 8, 11, and 18, 2014.

9/9/14

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 4 parts per billion from 11:37 am to 5:17 pm on 9/5/14.

9/8/14

Appearing before the Newburyport city council at its bi-weekly meeting, the Newburyport mayor reports that her meeting with representatives of the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the lawyer for the landfill owner on September 4 did not go as well as she had hoped.

She said a consulting company, Blue Granite, hired by the landfill owner, had made a series of recommendations for repairs and enhancements at the landfill that would cost about $6,000. The landfill owner’s lawyer said the landfill owner will not accept the recommendations and wants to hire a different consultant. The mayor and DEP representatives “pushed back very hard and said this is totally unacceptable,” according to the mayor’s report.

She also explained that four or five wells on the landfill are leaking hydrogen sulfide, and that “the owner decided to sprinkle a little asphalt around the wells thinking that would stop the seepage of hydrogen sulfide. It didn’t.” She explained that the correct repair procedure requires removing the topsoil from the plastic liner and welding the liner, “and that’s what we’re pushing for.”

They mayor also reported that DEP will soon provide a new timeline and strategy, which “they have been working on for many many months.” The mayor also said she will contact the city’s legal team to see if the city has “any other options.”

9/5/14

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 4 parts per billion from 1:51 pm to 5:41 pm on 9/4/14.

9/2/14

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 4 parts per billion from 8:37 pm to 9:48 pm on 8/29/14.

8/28/14

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 5 parts per billion from 2:12 pm to 5:52 pm on 8/26/14 and levels between 3 and 4 parts per billion from 12:51 pm to 4:31 pm on 8/27/14.

8/26/14

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the Newburyport city council sent a letter to the Massachusetts governor seeking the release of $3 million for a Crow Lane Landfill Fund. According to the news report, the funds were incorporated in a state bond bill but have not been released for use.

The report continues:

The lobbying initiative to release the $3 million appropriation comes about a week after numerous residents in the area of Crow Lane complained about odors emanating from the capped private landfill.

8/22/14

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 4 parts per billion from 2:18 pm to 5:18 pm on 8/19/14 and levels between 3 and 5 parts per billion from 11:28 am to 5:38 pm on 8/20/14.

8/21/14

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that residents’ frustration levels with the Crow Lane landfill are growing. The article states, “This has been a summer of terrible smells for residents who live near the Crow Lane landfill.” It adds that several residents reported odors yesterday in the neighborhoods surrounding the landfill.

The article reports that residents sent emails to city officials expressing anger at the landfill owner and state officials “who have been negotiating with the company to solve the problem.”

According to the report, the Newburyport mayor sent an email to residents on August 20 stating, “We continue to be as frustrated as you with our current status but are optimistic that we will have a more complete understanding of the problems with the flare within the next two weeks.”

8/20/14

Newburyport mayor, in an email to residents, reports that she drove through the neighborhoods near the landfill today and noticed “a residual odor” and that she “could clearly taste” the hydrogen sulfide.

She stated that she is working with the state senator representing the district and is trying to coordinate “a technical review with full plans for the flare system, what has been fixed and why the problems with operations remain.” She says the landfill owner’s attorney has agreed to participate and provide a technical team.

She also says a new contractor has been hired by the landfill owner to work on the flare.

8/19/14

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 4 parts per billion from 4:32 pm to 6:12 pm on 8/16/14.

8/19/14

Letter to the editor in The Daily News of Newburyport states that the writer is “angry to read that now the state is going to use $3 million of our tax dollars to try to alleviate the [Crow Lane landfill] problem.”

The letter continues:

The man who runs New Ventures [the landfill owner] is the only one who should have to pay. I am sure he and his company are laughing all the way to the bank hearing that the state is going to bail them out while they continue to ignore their responsibility.

8/15/14

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 4 parts per billion from 8:51 pm on 8/12/14 to 12:11 am on 8/13/14.

8/14/14

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that city officials and the state senator representing the district are attempting to secure $3 million in state funds to create a maintenance and monitoring fund for the landfill, “as a city neighborhood suffered through yet another round of foul landfill odors.”

The article explains:

The increased effort to obtain financial support to end problems comes following a weekend when numerous residents complained to city officials about noxious fumes.

8/12/14

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 5 parts per billion from 10:17 am to 7:47 pm on 8/11/14.

8/11/14

At the Newburyport city council meeting, the city councilor representing the ward containing the Crow Lane landfill suggests that the council send a letter to the governor to secure the $3 million for the landfill requested by the state senator representing the district.

The councilor describes the 7/10/14 letter from the landfill owner’s attorney to the DEP, explaining that the letter shows how DEP and landfill owner “are in complete opposition.”

Later in the meeting, the 7/10/14 letter from the landfill owner’s attorney to the DEP is received and filed in the council’s records.

8/11/14

At the Newburyport city council meeting, an at-large councilor states that he has been in Newburyport for 7 years and has heard complaints about odors from the Crow Lane landfill for as long as he has been in the city. He comments to the council, “It’s preposterous that it’s still going on.” He proposes that the city council consider getting involved in the issue directly and “to commit to action complementary to the action the mayor has undertaken,” perhaps by writing a letter to state officials.

8/11/14

Appearing before the Newburyport city council at its bi-weekly meeting, the Newburyport mayor reports that there have been “significant” outbursts of hydrogen sulfide over the past two weeks, “even some today.” She said the work that has been done on the landfill flare has “obviously not been satisfactory because we’re still having outbursts.” She said she requested a face-to-face meeting with New Ventures [landfill owner], Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and all the parties involved “so we can lay out the plans for the flare, find out exactly what they did and what the problems are, and how we can go forward” to close the landfill.

8/5/14

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 7 parts per billion from 12:02 pm to 9:03 pm on 8/5/14.

8/1/14

Letter to the editor in The Daily News of Newburyport asks why “nothing has been done” to resolve the landfill issue. The letter states, “It seems almost impossible to compel New Ventures [the landfill owner] to hew to [conform to] its agreement with the city and the state. Why?” The letter also expresses sympathy for “the beleaguered residents around Crow Lane.”

8/1/14

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 4 parts per billion from 11:13 am to 8:33 pm on 7/31/14.

7/25/14

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 4 parts per billion from 12:45 pm to 5:16 pm on 7/23/14.

7/23/14

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 7 parts per billion from 12:32 pm to 6:32 pm on 7/22/14.

7/23/14

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports, “Once again, neighbors are complaining of terrible odors emanating from the Crow Lane landfill, and once again, state officials are blaming the company that owns it for failing to maintain the site.”

The report continues:

In recent days, residents who live near the private landfill, owned by New Ventures Associates LLC, have complained of offensive odors coming from the site. Complaints started rolling into City Hall on the weekend, as neighbors of the Low Street landfill stated the smell was so bad they couldn’t open their windows.

7/22/14

In an email update to residents of Newburyport, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection [DEP], reports that:

·         Since the installation of the new induction fan motor on June 6, 2014, MassDEP and Shaw personnel have observed continuing outages of the landfill gas flare. As a result of these inspections, MassDEP issued a 72-hour notice to New Ventures on June 26, 2014. The 72-hour notice required immediate action by New Ventures to repair and restore the landfill gas flare and landfill cap to its approved design and operating specifications as per the Final Court Judgment.

·         New Ventures provided a written response to MassDEP on July 10, 2014, concerning the 72hour notice. Despite the measures that New Ventures asserts (in its July 10, 2014 letter) to have taken, MassDEP and Shaw personnel have observed during subsequent inspections that the landfill gas flare was not operating. In addition, other corrective actions have not been taken or completed, such as follow-up to the landfill gas odor scan conducted on May 6, 2014.

·         New Ventures’ consultant has not conducted a recent inspection of the flare to determine the cause(s) of the continuing outages in order to repair and restore the landfill gas system to operation in compliance with the final judgment.

·         MassDEP continues its efforts to have New Ventures restore the landfill gas system, including the flare, to operate in compliance with the final judgment.

·         MassDEP received multiple complaints of the occurrence of odors on July 20, 2014, in the area of the Landfill. During this time period, the flare was not operating.

·         In response to the odor reports, MassDEP inspected the site during the morning of July 21, 2014. At the time of the inspection, the landfill gas flare was not operating. The inspector detected a slight to moderate landfill gas odor on top of the landfill near several of the landfill gas wells and at the flare, but did not detect odors around the perimeter of the landfill or next door at the town’s compost facility. Review of meteorological data indicated that the wind for the past several days was from the north/northeast towards the neighborhood to the south of the landfill.

·         MassDEP also dispatched Shaw personnel to the Landfill to inspect the landfill gas flare, monitor the Landfill for the occurrence of hydrogen sulfide and odors, and download the data from the air monitoring station on Charmanski Drive. Shaw reported to MassDEP that, during the evening of July 19th through the morning of July 20, 2014, the meter malfunctioned and was not properly collecting data. Shaw personnel consulted the equipment manufacturer and Shaw has now reactivated the meter.

·         Previously, on May 6, 2014, New Ventures, MassDEP, Shaw and SITEC were onsite to investigate the landfill gas odors that have been detected periodically on top of the landfill when the landfill gas flare was not operating. New Ventures and its consultant SITEC have represented that SITEC is developing an action plan to pin-point the actual source(s) of the odor and a plan to repair any leak(s) and the landfill cap, if necessary, in those areas. To date, New Ventures has not submitted such a plan to MassDEP.

7/21/14

In an email to the state senator representing the district and to Newburyport officials and neighbors of the landfill, the Newburyport mayor writes:

We have been very patient with the problems in correcting the flare, rebuilding, replacing parts etc. and have acknowledged the difficulties in working with New Ventures. An occasional release of H2S was barely tolerable during this repair and was many months in between problems. Enough, I have sent a very stern email today to DEP and insist on a face-to-face with DEP and key contractors. The flare was to be repaired and working, although cycling and this obviously has failed. The sending of contractors to evaluate, report back on an issue and give a time line is done. This is the response for the past year and must stop now. I will report back on the latest issue as soon as I hear back from DEP and will provide timelines asap.

My apologies for the delay in responding I was away. This last release was one of the worst in many months.

7/21/14

In an email to Newburyport officials and neighbors of the Crow Lane landfill, the state senator representing the district states she has received odor complaints from several people and has contacted the deputy regional director of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The deputy regional director said he was sending the DEP’s consultant to the landfill today to determine the cause of the odors and promised to send an update within 24 hours.

7/21/14

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows the meter was out of service from 4:47 pm on 7/18/14 to 11:25 am on 7/21/14.

7/10/14

In a letter to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the landfill owner’s attorney states that DEP authority to access to the landfill is “premature” because “the operation of the Landfill flare has been addressed on an ongoing basis by New Ventures [the landfill owner]. The system has been operating without any off-site odors. Further, Hugo walked the entire site yesterday, July 9, 2014, and did not smell any odors on-site at the Landfill.” The letter goes on to present seven additional technical reasons for denying access to the landfill under terms of the final judgment of the court for closing the landfill.

7/8/14

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows the meter was out of service from 5:40 pm on 7/6/14 to 9:20 am on 7/8/14.

7/8/14

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 5 parts per billion from 1:08 pm to 5:08 pm on 7/8/14.

6/30/14

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports about the 6/26/14 notice to the landfill owner by Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

6/26/14

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) notifies the landfill owner that the landfill gas extraction system “and potentially the landfill cap” are not operating as required by the Suffolk Superior Court in its 2009 through 2011 judgments. The notice states that landfill gas odors have been observed near the gas flare blower fan and some of the gas extraction wells by DEP personnel.

The notice orders the landfill owner to take necessary action “to return to compliance with the Final Judgment.” These actions must include “the repair and restoration of the landfill gas flare and landfill cap to its approved design and operating specifications.”

The following required specifications and actions are listed in the notice:

·         Operation of the landfill gas flare

·         Blower fan/enclosure

·         Condensate knock out tank

·         Automated fault notification system

·         Chart recorder

·         Flow meter

·         Provide a written report about the odor investigation conducted on May 6, 2013, which identifies the sources of the gas releases near the wells and recommends how to address the areas where gas was detected.

·         Perform an electrical inspection of the power line to the flare and bring it into compliance with applicable codes.

The notice does not seem to specify a deadline for such action, other than it must be taken “without delay.”

The notice was attached to an email from DEP to Newburyport officials and residents. The email contains the following additional information:

Flare Operation

On May 29, 2014, a technician from New Ventures (NV) was sent to the site to restart the flare and determined that the landfill gas flare blower motor had failed. NV removed the blower motor and sent it off site on May 30, 2014, to be repaired. On June 6, 2014, a new blower motor was installed and the flare was restarted.

 

72 Hour Notice per the Final Court Judgment

As a result of the continuing inspections of the landfill by MassDEP and Shaw personnel, the Department issued the attached 72-hour notice to NV today, June 26, 2014. The 72-hour notice requires immediate action by NV to repair and restore the landfill gas flare and landfill cap to its approved design and operating specifications as per the Final Court Judgment.

5/16/14

In an email update to residents of Newburyport, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection [DEP], reports that:

·         The Crow Lane landfill flare continues to operate in a cycle on/off mode. (When the flare goes below the low temperature setting, flow of landfill gas to the flare is shut off and the auto-dialer sends a text to inform New Ventures about the shutdown. NV thereafter sends a technician to the site to restart the flare after a rest period to allow the landfill to produce more gas.)

·         An odor incident was reported in the Crow Lane neighborhood on the evening of May 14th through the morning of May 15, 2014. During this time period, the flare was on from the morning of May 14, 2014 through the morning of May 15, 2014, when it shut down due to low temperature.

·         The MassDEP monitors for H2S continuously at a meter located at Charmanski Drive. The meter takes a sample and records a reading every ten minutes. The monitoring results are posted on the MassDEP Northeast Region web site. During the evening of May 14th through the morning of May 15, 2014, the meter did not detect elevated H2S at the meter.

·         MassDEP was at the site during the afternoon of May 15, 2014. At the time of the inspection, the landfill gas flare was not operating. The inspector detected a slight landfill gas odor on top of the landfill but no odors were detected around the perimeter of the landfill or next door at the compost facility.

·         MassDEP personnel also visited the compost site on Crow Lane and toured the surrounding neighborhoods while checking for potential odors in the area. The only odor that the MassDEP inspector noted was a lawn fertilizer type chemical odor at the intersection of Hale Street and Doe Run Drive.

·         The wind for the past several days has been out of the south/southeast.

·         NV, MassDEP, Shaw and SITEC were onsite May 6, 2014 to investigate the landfill gas odor that has been detected on top of the landfill only when the landfill gas flare was not operating. The landfill gas odor is not present when the flare is running. Several areas were identified where fugitive landfill gas odors were detected. SITEC is developing an action plan to pin point the actual source of the odor and a plan to repair the landfill cap, if necessary, in those areas.

·         The Department and/or Shaw personnel are currently monitoring the landfill on a regular basis. MassDEP and/or Shaw personnel are scheduled to be at the Landfill several times per week. MassDEP and Shaw will also be onsite for any jointly scheduled activities with Blue Granite, SITEC and/or New Ventures.

·         Real-time emails to the Crow Lane Information mailbox regarding any perceived odors or issues at or near the landfill may allow us to deploy inspectors real-time, and are much appreciated.

4/28/14

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports, “Landfill odors begin again.” It also reports, “With the arrival of the new season comes the question of when will the privately held former dump be closed and sealed.” It continues, “Despite an update by the state Department of Environmental Protection [DEP], the answer is still uncertain.”

The article goes on to summarize the content of the 4/25/14 email report from DEP, including how, in recent weeks, “DEP personnel and technical consultants have been to the site to respond to complaints of noxious odors.” The news article also says the public officials who were briefed on the matter could not be reached for comment.

4/25/14

In its first email update to residents in almost 5 months, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection [DEP] reports that:

·         Activities at the Crow Lane Landfill were limited over the winter season, consisting of cycling the flare on and off, to destruct landfill gas.

·         Before the arrival of ice and snow, a repair was made to the landfill gas piping and flare system to ensure that, if the flare’s temperature goes below 1400 degrees F, a valve immediately and automatically closes so landfill gas not released to the atmosphere.

·         Blue Granite and MassDEP were on site December 5, 10 and 14, 2013 to continue the assessment of the flare’s operation, to ensure that it will run reliably going forward. Activities included installation of a new pilot light assembly, re-installation of the cellular auto-dialer system (automatically sends a text message if the flare shuts off, so New Ventures will be automatically notified and respond to restart the flare), installation of a replacement thermocouple unit (the existing thermocouple, which was installed recently, had failed), replaced the electrical relay associated with the landfill blower.

·         New Ventures, SITEC, Blue Granite and MassDEP, are continuing to monitor the Landfill and the flare’s operation to determine if the repairs corrected the flare’s operational reliability issues.

·         Blue Granite has recommended that the flare be cycled on and off due to lack of landfill gas production. The flare operation would consist of running the flare until it flare shuts down due to low temperature. (The auto-dialer will notify NV of flare shut down.) The flare would remain off for a period to allow gas production to increase and then be restarted, and the cycle would be repeated. Over the last several months, the flare after start up has run typically 3-4 days until shut down. NV allows a 1-3 day rest period and then restarts the flare.

·         NV is having Blue Granite develop a cycle on/off operating protocol for the flare.

·         Several odor reports were filed by Crow Lane area residents on or around April 14 and April 19, 2014. During this time, the flare was on from midday April 14, 2014 through the morning of April 16, 2014, when it shut down due to low temperature. The flare was restarted midday on April 19, 2014.

·         From April 14-19, the meter on Charmanski Drive did not detect elevated hydrogen sulfide.

·         When MassDEP’s consultant, Shaw, was at the site on April 18, the landfill gas flare was not operating. Shaw detected a slight landfill gas odor on top of the landfill but no odors were detected around the perimeter of the landfill or at the city compost facility. Shaw did not detect landfill odors in the Charmanski Drive neighborhood.

·         Shaw and MassDEP personnel visited the compost site on Crow Lane and toured the surrounding neighborhoods (which include farms that may land apply nutrients, etc.) while checking for potential odors in the area.

·         MassDEP and SITEC are scheduled to be on site in the next week to investigate the landfill gas odor that has been detected on top of the landfill only when the landfill gas flare was not operating. The landfill gas odor is not present when the flare is running.

·         Real-time emails to the Crow Lane Information mailbox regarding any perceived odors or issues at or near the landfill may allow DEP to deploy inspectors real-time, and are much appreciated.

·         NV’s consultant SITEC has begun submitting documentation relating to the comprehensive site assessment and regarding landfill closure certification. MassDEP is in the process of reviewing the information submitted to date, and anticipates the receipt of additional information from SITEC.

·         The cap held up well over a tough winter season. Some minor repairs will be performed, such as placing loam and grass seed in a couple of small areas, when the weather permits.

·         At an appropriate point, the landfill will be mowed to allow continued access to the landfill gas well heads.

·         The Department and/or Shaw personnel are currently monitoring the landfill on a regular basis. MassDEP and/or Shaw personnel are scheduled to be at the Landfill several times per week.

·         MassDEP has recently updated Mayor Holaday, Senator O’Connor-Ives and Representative Costello to inform them of the status of the landfill closure process.

1/3/14

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that closing the Crow Lane landfill has been one of the challenges for the City of Newburyport during 2013. “This has been one of the most frustrating projects for city officials,” says the article, because “efforts to complete the closure continue to hit obstacles and roadblocks.”

12/10/13

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports, “Odor problems at landfill continue.” It says state officials and private engineering consultants continue to focus on the landfill “with the goal of closing it safely and effectively.”

It also reports that several faulty components of the flare mechanism have been replaced with the expectation of better performance, according to Susan Ruch of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. According to the article, a closing date for the landfill “has not been projected.”

12/6/13

In an email update to residents of Newburyport, Susan Ruch of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection [DEP], reports that:

·         Highland Power, Blue Granite and MassDEP were on site December 5, 2013, to continue the assessment of the flare’s operation, to ensure that it will run reliably going forward.

·         A new pilot light assembly (e.g., igniter) was installed on December 5.

·         A cellular auto-dialer system was reinstalled to send a message when the flare shuts off.

·         A faulty thermocouple unit (measures the flare’s operational temperature) was replaced. The failed component had just been installed recently.

·         The electrical relay associated with the landfill blower was replaced because it may have caused several unexplained flare shutdowns observed on December 5 by Highland Power and Blue Granite.

·         New Ventures, SITEC, Blue Granite and MassDEP are continuing to monitor the landfill and the flare’s operation to determine if these repairs correct the flare’s operational reliability.

·         On December 3, 2013, SITEC collected confirmatory groundwater samples from the on-site wells, as required by MassDEP, to complete documentation required for the landfill closure.

·         Gas well field balancing is expected to be scheduled in the coming weeks.

·         The Department and/or Shaw personnel will continue to monitor the landfill daily. MassDEP and/or Shaw personnel also plan to be onsite for the continued inspection and evaluation of the landfill gas system and flare by Blue Granite, SITEC and New Ventures.

12/4/13

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that residents near the landfill “have complained in recent days of the return of odors.”

The report says:

Numerous residents, including Larry Giunta, a city councilor-elect, noted noxious smells on Sunday morning [Dec 1]. The odor evidently wafted to the Shaw’s supermarket parking lot and western sections of High Street and Storey Avenue.

The report adds, “Despite greater attention by the DEP and constant monitoring by city leaders, odors continue to emanate from the site and plague the neighborhood.”

12/2/13

In an email update to residents of Newburyport, Susan Ruch of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection [DEP], reports that:

·         Highland Power, who designed and built the flare, joined New Ventures’ consultant, Blue Granite, to review the flare’s operation on November 15, 2013.

·         At Highland Power’s recommendation, a new pilot light assembly (e.g., igniter) was ordered and is expected to arrive this week

·         The new pilot light assembly is expected to be installed by the end of this week, and then Blue Granite and Highland Power will continue assessing the flare’s operation to ensure that it will run reliably going forward.

·         The flare has shut down a couple of times over the past few days. Blue Granite and Highland Power will be working to identify the cause of these shutdowns so that appropriate repairs can be made.

·         The landfill gas system will be re-checked to see what, if any, additional balancing should be done to ensure a good flow of good quality (e.g., appropriate btu value) landfill gas is being delivered to the flare.

·         New Ventures had an electrician work at the Landfill on November 21, 2013, because there was no electric power at the flare. The electrician restored power to the flare.

·         MassDEP will be on-site when Highland Power and Blue Granite are working at the landfill. MassDEP plans to send out an additional email and web update thereafter.

·         New Ventures, SITEC and Blue Granite are continuing to monitor the landfill and the flare’s operation.

·         MassDEP and/or Shaw are currently visiting the landfill on a daily basis.

·         New Ventures reports that SITEC is preparing submittals toward certifying closure of the landfill.

·         MassDEP and/or Shaw personnel plan to be at the landfill daily until the auto-dialer is installed and operational.

·         MassDEP and Shaw will also be onsite for the continued inspection and evaluation of the landfill gas system and flare by Blue Granite, SITEC and New Ventures.

11/25/13

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 5 parts per billion from 12:55 pm on 11/23/13 to 9:54 am on 11/25/13.

11/22/13

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 5 parts per billion from 8:57 am on 11/19/13 to 4:27 pm on 11/20/13.

11/19/13

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 5 parts per billion during the following periods:

·         11/15/13 from 11:31 am to 4:21 pm

·         11/16/13 from 11:11 am to 4:31 pm

·         11/17/13 from 3:30 pm to 8:00 pm

11/15/13

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports on the content of the 11/14/13 email to residents from Susan Ruch of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection [DEP].

The article also reports: “For years, the stench coming from the enormous mound of capped demolition debris has infiltrated neighborhoods in the Crow Lane/Low Street area.”

11/15/13

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 5 parts per billion from 10:50 am on 11/12/13 to 4:49 pm on 11/14/13.

11/14/13

In an email update to residents of Newburyport, Susan Ruch of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection [DEP], reports that:

·         New Ventures and its consultants, SITEC Environmental and Blue Granite, have continued work with a goal of completing the Landfill closure and filing closure certification paperwork with MassDEP.

·         Over the past month, Blue Granite has continued its work on the landfill gas system and flare at Crow Lane landfill, most recently on Friday, November 08, 2013 and Tuesday November 12, 2013. MassDEP and Shaw were also onsite with Blue Granite during its work at the Landfill.

·         On October 9, 2013, Blue Granite evaluated the flare and checked its electrical system.

·         On October 25, 2013, Blue Granite installed a cellular auto-dialer system. The purpose of the auto-dialer is for an automatic message to be sent if the flare shuts off. The auto-dialer unit appeared to be defective and the unit was removed and sent back to the manufacturer for evaluation and replacement.

·         On October 28, 2013, Blue Granite installed a new thermocouple unit (which measures the flare’s operational temperature).

·         On November 1, 2103, a new auto-dialer unit was installed, but not activated, pending the manufacturer’s review of the defective unit.

·         On November 12, 2013, the new auto-dialer was made operational for testing purposes; Blue Granite is in the process of checking the auto-dialer to ensure it will operate reliably.

·         Blue Granite’s activities at the landfill also included re-balancing the well field, based on gas flow and quality from the various well heads.

·         The landfill gas system will be allowed to re-stabilize and will then be re-checked to see what if any additional balancing should be done to ensure a good flow of appropriate-Btu-value landfill gas is being delivered to the flare.

·         Blue Granite’s next visit to the landfill will include Highland Power, who designed and built the flare, to review the current condition of the flare. This next joint landfill visit will also include MassDEP and Shaw, and is expected to occur within the next week. MassDEP will send out an additional email and web update thereafter.

·         New Ventures, SITEC and Blue Granite, are continuing to monitor the landfill and the flare’s operation.

·         MassDEP and/or Shaw are currently visiting the landfill on a daily basis.

·         New Ventures reports that SITEC is preparing submittals toward certifying closure of the landfill.

·         The Department and/or Shaw personnel are currently monitoring the landfill on a daily basis. MassDEP and/or Shaw personnel plans to be at the landfill each day until the auto-dialer is installed and operational. MassDEP and Shaw will also be onsite for the continued inspection and evaluation of the landfill gas system and flare by Blue Granite, SITEC and New Ventures.

·         MassDEP has been communicating directly with Mayor Holaday, Senator O’Connor-Ives and Representative Costello on a regular basis to inform them of progress on the landfill closure process.

11/12/13

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 5 parts per billion during the following periods:

·         8:21 am to 4:51 pm on 11/9/13

·         6:50 am on 11/11/13 to 2:39 am on 11/12/13

11/8/13

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 5 parts per billion during the following periods:

·         10:39 am to 5:00 pm on 11/5/13

·         4:29 am on 11/6/13 to 2:59 am on 11/7/13

10/31/13

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 5 parts per billion from 9:15 am to 6:05 pm on 10/29/13.

10/28/13

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 5 parts per billion during the following periods:

·         11:47 am to 6:48 pm on 10/25/13

·         10:47 am on 10/26/13 to 12:27 am on 10/27/13

10/25/13

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows the following continuous hydrogen sulfide levels during the following periods:

·         Between 3 and 7 parts per billion from 12:31 pm to 5:22 pm on 10/22/13.

·         Between 3 and 5 parts per billion from 9:12 am to 5:51 pm on 10/23/13.

·         Between 3 and 5 parts per billion from 9:21 am to 11:11 pm on 10/24/13.

10/22/13

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows the following continuous hydrogen sulfide levels during the following periods:

·         Between 3 and 11 parts per billion from 1:53 pm on 10/15/13 to 12:03 am on 10/16/13.

·         Between 3 and 16 parts per billion from 8:12 am on 10/16/13 to 8:01 pm on 10/17/13.

10/18/13

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows the following continuous hydrogen sulfide levels during the following periods:

·         Between 3 and 7 parts per billion from 11:58 am to 5:18 pm on 10/18/13.

·         Between 3 and 8 parts per billion from 8:08 am on 10/19/13 to 1:18 am on 10/20/13.

·         Between 3 and 6 parts per billion from 9:57 am to 6:47 pm on 10/20/13.

10/8/13

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports on the content of the 10/4/13 email to residents from Susan Ruch of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection [DEP].

The article also reports that no date for the final closing of the landfill has been announced, and that “residents have complained about odorous gaseous emissions from the site for almost a decade and the impact of the smells have on their health and quality of life.”

10/4/13

In an email update to residents of Newburyport, Susan Ruch of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection [DEP], reports that:

·         On 10/1/13 Blue Granite continued work on the landfill gas system and flare. MassDEP and its consultant, Shaw Environmental, were onsite with Blue Granite and New Ventures personnel during this work.

·         Blue Granite evaluated how the landfill gas collection and control system have worked since the new controller was installed in September.

·         The automatic shutoff is working properly.

·         Blue Granite’s activities included balancing the well field, based on gas flow and quality from the various well heads.

·         The landfill gas system will be allowed to stabilize and will then be checked to see if any additional balancing should be done to ensure a good flow of good quality (e.g., appropriate Btu value) landfill gas is being delivered to the flare.

·         The next Blue Granite site visit is being scheduled.

·         New Ventures, SITEC and Blue Granite are continuing to monitor the landfill and the flare’s operation.

·         MassDEP and/or Shaw are currently visiting the landfill on a daily basis.

·         New Ventures reports that SITEC is preparing submittals for certifying closure of the landfill.

·         The Department and/or Shaw personnel are currently monitoring the landfill on a daily basis.

·         Mass DEP and/or Shaw personnel plan to be at the landfill each day until the auto-dialer is installed and operational.

·         Mass DEP and Shaw will also be onsite for the continued inspection and evaluation of the landfill gas system and flare by Blue Granite at the beginning of October.

·         Mass DEP will send an additional update next week regarding New Ventures’ closure activities.

10/1/13

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 5 parts per billion during the following periods:

·         9/27/13 from 1:10 pm to 5:20 pm

·         9/29/13 from 11:49 am to 6:09 pm

·         9/30/13 from 11:48 am to 6:09 pm

9/24/13

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 7 parts per billion from 10:58 am to 6:48 pm on Sept 19. It also shows continuous readings between 3 and 6 parts per billion from 10:18 am and 8:38 pm on Sept 20.

9/23/13

In an email update to residents of Newburyport, Susan Ruch of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection [DEP], reports that:

·         On September 18 and 19, Blue Granite worked on the landfill gas system and flare with Mike Quatromoni, engineer of record for the landfill.

·         On September 18, Blue Granite installed a new controller for the flare and set it to shut the flare down if the temperature drops to 1400 degrees. Testing showed shutoff of the flare and landfill gas flow operating properly.

·         The flare is no longer being manually cycled on and off and has been operating continuously since September 18.

·         Now that the flare has been cleaned and repaired, Blue Granite will run the flare continuously for a period of time to ensure it is working properly and to get to the landfill to a steady state. After the landfill gas stabilizes, Blue Granite will finish its evaluation and recommendations.

·         Blue Granite will return to the landfill in early October to continue its work, including balancing the well field based on gas flow and quality from the various well heads.

·         On September 23, it was discovered that the flare had shut down at 6 pm on September 22. This indicates that the temperature must have reached 1400 degrees, successfully triggering the automatic shutdown. New Ventures personnel checked and restarted the flare on September 23. New Ventures, SITEC and Blue Granite, are monitoring flare operation.

·         Mass DEP and its consultant, Shaw Environmental, are visiting the landfill daily, including Saturday and Sunday, September 21 and 22.

·         Mass DEP staff visited the landfill September 23 when the flare was discovered not to be operating. Mass DEP staff did not observe any odor during this visit.

·         Selection of the auto-dialer to send an automatic alert by telephone if certain conditions occur is in process. Until it is installed, New Ventures staff will check the flare daily. Mass DEP and its consultant, Shaw Environmental, will also continue to visit the landfill and monitor flare operation.

·         Landfill gas is still being collected and piped through the original header, although New Ventures installed a new header as part of the project. The new header is located above the flexible membrane liner layer (FML) of the landfill cap. Blue Granite and SITEC Environmental are in the process of evaluating the existing, original header and the new header. SITEC and Blue Granite may recommend to continue using the original header if it is operating properly and to use the new header only if future circumstances warrant. No final decision will be made on this issue until the evaluation is completed and recommendations, supported by engineering data, are made.

·         A resident reported an odor observation on Low Street late on September 21 and Mass DEP is looking into this complaint.

·         Mass DEP plans to do some spot observations around the neighborhoods in the coming days; residents should send emails ASAP following any observations to increase the likelihood that DEP might observe odors being reported.

9/18/13

No data is available from the hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection [DEP] on Charmanski Dr. for most of the period from Sept 13 - 18. The results posted by the DEP show only “BRIDGE ADJUST NEEDED” or “SENSOR SATURATED.”

9/18/13

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports on the content of the 9/13/13 email to residents from Susan Ruch of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection [DEP]. The article also states, “Closing the private landfill on Crow Lane has been a community concern for a decade, while neighbors have suffered from constant odors and endless setbacks in the capping process.”

In addition, the article says the Newburyport mayor and the state senator and representative for the Newburyport district “have urged greater oversight by the state so that the job of closing the private site is completed soon.”

9/13/13

Responding to an odor complaint from a resident, the Newburyport mayor replies that the flare system evaluation was completed on September 10. The mayor also reports that in a conference call with the MA Department of Environmental Protection on 9/12/13 she was told that problems with the landfill gas system have been identified and the necessary parts for correcting the problems “are readily available.”

She also reports that a meeting is scheduled today “to outline the time line for final repairs,” and that she will forward the timeline as soon as she receives it.

The email explains that the flare is now operational for “only several hours each day when DEP engineers are present.” This helps avoid release of hydrogen sulfide, the email says, because “the flare operates at 1700°F but the blower operates at 700°F and doesn’t shut down at the same time the flare.”

The email also asks residents to keep the mayor informed of any issues.

9/13/13

In an email update to residents of Newburyport, Susan Ruch of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection [DEP], reports that:

·         On 9/10/13, Blue Granite, a consultant hired by the landfill owner, continued inspection and assessment of the landfill gas system flare and reported “good progress” in its assessment and maintenance of the flare.

·         Blue Granite determined that the burner and piping are intact.

·         The supply pipe and the flow meter were cleaned and the flow meter height was adjusted, resulting in a “demonstrable improvement in the actual operation of the flare.”

·         The landfill owner is ordering several replacement parts for the flare, including a new controller and some timers and Blue Granite expects to obtain these parts next week.

·         Blue Granite and the landfill owner are evaluating auto-dialers to send a telephone alert when certain conditions, such as flare shutdowns, occur.

·         Blue Granite is expected to be back on-site next week to continue its work.

·         Once the flare assessment is complete and all repairs made, Blue Granite will balance the landfill gas well system based on gas flow and quality from the various well heads.

·         Mike Quatromoni, the engineer of record for the landfill, will also be at the landfill next week.

·         The landfill owner continues to cycle the flare on and off while the flare is being assessed and serviced. Cycling a landfill gas flare is used at other landfills to ensure that such flares are running on an appropriate quality and quantity of landfill gas and for other landfill-specific reasons. Cycling the flare off and on also minimizes the potential for landfill gas buildup within the landfill and ensures that the flare is being closely monitored by the landfill staff.

·         The flare is being started by landfill personnel each morning and run until approximately 12:00 noon. Landfill personnel remain onsite to monitor flare operation.

·         Mass DEP or its consultant is currently monitoring the landfill on a daily basis.  MassDEP and/or Shaw personnel will be at the Landfill each day during the interim flare operation period.

·         Mass DEP and its consultant will also be onsite for the continued inspection and evaluation of the landfill gas system and flare by Blue Granite next week.

·         Mass DEP has been communicating directly with Mayor Holaday, Senator O’Connor-Ives and Representative Costello on a regular basis to inform them of progress on the landfill closure process and will send an update next week about closure activities.

9/11/13

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 4 and 8 parts per billion from 10:58 am to 5:48 pm. The level is shown to be almost continuously above 2 parts per billion throughout the reporting period of Sept 9 – 13.

9/9/13

No data is available from the hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection [DEP] on Charmanski Dr. for much of the period from Sept 6 to 9. The results posted by the DEP show only “BRIDGE ADJUST NEEDED” or “SENSOR SATURATED.”

9/6/13

Responding to a resident question about why the City of Newburyport is not involved in any of the recent landfill discussions, the Newburyport mayor explains:

Since DEP and OAG [Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General] filed suit against New Ventures and the subsequent settlement agreement of 2009, the city has not been at the table in any mediations or negotiations, however I have been in direct contact with DEP on a very regular basis including Commissioner Kimmell regarding each negotiation outcome. We have had several conversations including a conference call this morning regarding the status of the flare repair. Senator Ives and Representative Costello were also part of that discussion. DEP has outlined the current status of the final closure plan in their posting today and we will continue to closely monitor the situation.

9/6/13

In an email update to residents of Newburyport, Susan Ruch of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection [DEP], reports that DEP, New Ventures [the landfill owner] and its consultant, SITEC Environmental, met on July 31 to discuss the landfill owner’s plans and schedule for items requiring completion to close the landfill.

The email includes this summary of “key activities” since the July 31 meeting:

·         New Ventures had the landfill mowed to allow closer inspection of the condition of the vegetative cap that was installed over the flexible membrane liner (FML) layer.

·         New Ventures engaged Blue Granite Environmental Consultants to conduct an evaluation of the landfill gas collection system and flare.

·         On August 19, DEP, New Ventures, SITEC and Blue Granite conducted a comprehensive site walkover.

·         During the August 19 walkover, DEP observed that the landfill surface was in generally good condition, though several small areas were identified for minor repairs (such as a few areas where some supplemental loam and re-seeding was needed, some minor erosion areas to be addressed).

·         During the August 19 walkover, SITEC discussed with New Ventures staff several required action items, such as some corrective re-grading of the stone drainage area that runs along the edge of the haul road, to ensure that storm water flows as designed. SITEC oversaw this work, according to the email.

·         On August 29, DEP met at the landfill with New Ventures, SITEC and Blue Granite and DEP confirmed that the areas of erosion identified on August 19 were repaired and that the minor re-grading and repair had been done.

·         Blue Granite began its evaluation of the landfill gas system and the flare on August 29.

The same email states that DEP will re-inspect the landfill and cap throughout the fall to confirm that vegetation has been re-established and repairs have been successful.

It also states that evaluation of the gas extraction system identified several factors that may contribute to the frequent failures of the gas extraction system, but recommendations for repairs will not be available until Blue Granite completes its inspection. The inspection is scheduled to continue on September 10, according to the message.

The message also reports that Blue Granite determined that the gas extraction system is not shutting down quickly enough when the flare goes out. New Ventures has committed to the following to address the problem:

·         New Ventures will begin to cycle the flare on and off from September 6 through the September 10 continuation of the flare inspection. Cycling a landfill gas flare is used at other landfills to ensure that such flares are running on an appropriate quality and quantity of landfill gas and for other landfill-specific reasons. This cycling will minimize the potential for landfill gas buildup within the landfill, while ensuring that, when running, the flare is being closely monitored by New Ventures staff.

·         The flare will be started by New Ventures personnel each Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning and run until approximately 12:00 noon. New Ventures personnel will remain onsite to monitor the flare’s operation. New Ventures’ staff will also monitor the landfill to determine if any odors are observed at the landfill.

The email says DEP and its consultant, Shaw Environmental, will continue to monitor the landfill during this interim period of flare operation and will visit the landfill daily.

It also says New Ventures is working with Blue Granite to obtain the necessary parts to ensure immediate shutoff if the flame goes out.

The email states that DEP has been communicating directly with Mayor Holaday, Senator O’Connor-Ives and Representative Costello on a regular basis to inform them of progress and will send another email update next week.

8/31/13

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport quotes the Newburyport mayor as stating the continual shutdowns of the gas extraction system “should be resolved shortly.”

The article reports that the mayor spoke with Commissioner Kenneth Kimmel of the state Department of Environmental Protection [DEP] on August 29, “and the state agency is working with the landfill owner New Ventures and the city to resolve the ongoing issues that are preventing the final capping of the landfill.”

The mayor reported that a contractor hired to repair the gas extraction system at the landfill expects to finish their work within two weeks and that an automated dialing system will notify DEP if the system fails.

8/30/13

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the Newburyport mayor has “reached out to the state Department of Environmental Protection [DEP]” and called the frequent breakdowns of the gas extraction system at the landfill “totally unacceptable,” as “residents of the Crow Lane neighborhood once again deal with the pungent odors of hydrogen sulfide wafting from the Crow Lane landfill.”

The article states that the mayor expects updates on efforts to repair the gas system and plans to speak with DEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmel. In May, 2013, the commissioner had pledged aid to Newburyport in compelling the landfill owner to take action to stop release of hydrogen sulfide from the landfill, according to the news article.

8/29/13

Data report from a hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows the continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 7 parts per billion from 7:05 am on 8/28/13 to 6:14 am on 8/29/13.

7/29/13

In an email to residents, Newburyport mayor reports that she expects detailed information on the final landfill closure items this week. She says it appears that an agreement has been reached with New Ventures, the company that owns the landfill, to provide the estimated $180,000 for finishing closure.

She also reports her concern about “the recent and repeated problems” with the flare system not capable of operating more than a week or so without shutting down. She says this has been a recurring problem “for the past 6 weeks or so.”

The email says that DEP has identified an independent contractor to assess the problem with the flare, and the contractor will report the results of the assessment to the city.

The email also states that a plan for financing and maintaining the landfill after closure has not been addressed yet. “We will still need to address post-closure plans but the priority is to get these final items completed,” the mayor said in the email.

6/26/13

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports the expenditures from the Crow Lane landfill financial assurance mechanism (FAM) that depleted the FAM from $2.7 million to $90,000. The expenditures reported are the ones listed in the email from the Newburyport mayor on May 23.

The article says the mayor is seeking $180,000 to finish closure and develop a post-closure plan, and that the state representative for the district has said he will be “attempting to identify money in the state budget” for that purpose.

6/25/13

Editorial in The Daily News of Newburyport urges residents of Groveland to “rally against” the landfill plan for Groveland proposed by the owner of the Crow Lane landfill in Newburyport. The editorial warns that the person proposing the landfill plan is “the same man who brought Newburyport a decade of acrimony.”

The editorial says the landfill owner’s response to problems caused by the landfill “was often petulant, dodging and woefully inadequate.” The editorial also says, “No, this is not a businessman that Groveland should look forward to inviting into its community.”

6/24/13

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that a company owned by the same person who owns the Crow Lane landfill is proposing to fill an abandoned 6-acre quarry in Groveland with 77,000 cubic yards of material “excavated from sites in Boston and the nearby metro area.” The article says problems with the Crow Lane landfill in Newburyport has caused some Newburyport residents to urge Groveland residents “to rally against Thibeault [owner of the Crow Lane landfill].”

One Newburyport resident is quoted as recommending that Groveland officials “take the time to research Thibeault’s track record in Newburyport” and to make sure any agreement is strong enough to protect the town if something goes wrong.

6/24/13

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport headlined “Port still waiting for fixes to troublesome landfill” reports that for more than 10 years New Ventures LLC [the company who owns the landfill] has been in the process of closing the Crow Lane landfill. Although several hundred thousand dollars have been spent on the project, residents are still complaining “consistently” of noxious odors. “In recent weeks, in fact, residents complained again of odors coming from the landfill,” states the article.

The article reports that city officials say $180,000 is needed “to finish the closure and develop a post-closure plan,” and that the Newburyport mayor is seeking state assistance to obtain the funding.

The article goes on to say that municipal and state leaders have had to “cajole, threaten and/or litigate to get [the company who owns the landfill] to take comprehensive action to stop odors and seal the landfill.”

The article briefly recounts the history of the landfill since 2000:

The story goes back to at least 2000, when New Ventures said it intended to cap the Crow Lane site.

In late 2003, the state Department of Environmental Protection approved the landfill owner’s conceptual plan to close the site albeit with several conditions. The Crow Lane dump was capped by bringing enormous quantities of construction debris from [New Ventures president] Thibeault’s Everett-based company, mounding it up on top of the dump, and then covering it with protective layers and topsoil. What was once a fairly flat plain is now one of the highest hills in Newburyport.

Yet, the site has not been successfully sealed and closed. A variety of offensive odors have annoyed nearby residents and rankled local officials.

Municipal leaders have taken the company [New Ventures] to court on numerous occasions, in large part because company managers have not complied with state and municipal directives in a timely manner.

But New ventures, a company with deep pockets and capable lawyers, has appeared to move at its own pace when it comes to successfully concluding operations.

5/23/13

Responding to an email request for an accounting of the financial assurance mechanism (FAM) depletion from $3 million to $90,000 since 2010, the Newburyport mayor lists the following expenditures by Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) funded from the FAM:

·         An updated site survey to include the vernal pool, wetland boundary, property boundary, etc.

·         Extensive landfill gas system repairs including winterization and addition of a new condensate tank.

·         Repairs to the flexible membrane liner (FML).

·         Basin one excavation and rock crushing, construction of the earthen berm, completion of the discharge structure from Basin 1.

·         Study, investigation and design to improve the vacuum and enhance gas treatment associated with the discharge line from Basin 1.

·         Certification and production of documentation needed for DEP to release FAM funds for closure activities.

·         Seeding, wetlands work and new gas extraction system.

In the same email, the mayor said she expressed “grave concern about the lack of funding for post-closure” in her 5/20/13 meeting with DEP Commissioner Kimmell. She said the priority now is to obtain $180,000 to finish the closure and to develop a post-closure plan.

She also reported that she expects DEP officials to meet with the state Attorney General personnel next week.

5/22/13

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that city and state officials met on May 20 and agreed to pursue a new initiative, which might include “seeking state funds dedicated to ‘orphan sites.’” At the meeting, says the news article, the officials attempted to design tactics to force the landfill owner to follow state-mandated procedures to close the landfill and “complete obligations related to environmental safeguards.”

The news article says the discussion included finding new funding resources to pay closure costs. It reports that the $2.7 million Financial Assurance Mechanism (FAM) fund has diminished to $90,000.

The Newburyport mayor and the state representative for the district including Newburyport said they will seek more funding to close the landfill. According to the state representative, “The DEP [Mass. Department of Environmental Protection] has money to close what are known as orphan sites.” He continued, “We are going to be lobbying actively to be included in this fund or the general fund to come up with enough money to close the site – and monitor it for years after.”

The article reports that the mayor also expects to obtain legal support in the coming weeks from the state Attorney General.

5/21/13

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows the following hydrogen sulfide levels:

·         Between 5 and 16 parts per billion from 5/18/13 at 9:46 am to 5/18/13 at 9:55 pm

·         Between 5 and 12 parts per billion from 5/19/13 at 8:45 am to 5/19/13 at 6:45 pm

·         Between 5 and 27 parts per billion from 5/20/13 at 10:45 am to 5/20/13 at 7:44 pm

Average hydrogen sulfide level at the location during the monitoring period (5/17/13 through 5/21/13) was 5 parts per billion. Maximum level during the period was 27 parts per billion recorded 5/20/13 at 11:25 am.

5/18/13

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that Newburyport city officials will meet with Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) officials on May 20 “to discuss ongoing concerns about odors emanating from the private landfill at Crow Lane.”

The article explains that the meeting had been scheduled earlier, but “it comes at a time when odors from the site have once again been troubling the landfill’s frustrated neighbors.” It also reports that the closure process has advanced in recent years, but that “progress has slowed recently.” According to the article, city officials “had expected the troubled landfill to be closed, sealed and odorless by at least mid-2013.”

The report says the Newburyport mayor is concerned about ongoing problems of odor emissions at the landfill, and that numerous deadlines in the capping process have not been reached by New Ventures [the landfill owner]. The mayor said she will ask state authorities “to compel New Ventures to comply with agreements to halt odors and complete the sealing of the landfill.”

5/17/13

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows the following hydrogen sulfide levels:

·         Between 5 and 14 parts per billion from 5/14/13 at 9:49 am to 5/14/13 at 6:50 pm

·         Between 5 and 15 parts per billion from 5/15/13 at 8:19 am to 5/15/13 at 9:49 pm

·         Between 5 and 24 parts per billion from 5/16/13 at 8:19 am to 5/16/13 at 5:19 pm

·         Between 5 and 9 parts per billion from 5/17/13 at 9:48 am to 5/17/13 at 12:48 pm

Average hydrogen sulfide level at the location during the monitoring period (5/14/13 through 5/17/13) was 6 parts per billion. Maximum level during the period was 23 parts per billion recorded 5/16/13 at 9:49 am.

5/14/13

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels up to 15 parts per billion on 5/12/13 about 1:30 pm, and almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 4 and 15 parts per billion from 5/12/13 at 10:44 am to 5/13/13 at 12:44 am. Average hydrogen sulfide level at the location during the monitoring period period (5/10-5/14) was 5 parts per billion.

5/10/13

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels up to 12 parts per billion on 5/7/13 about 12:40 pm, and almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 4 and 12 parts per billion from 5/7/13 at 11:38 am to 5/7/13 at 8:30 pm.

5/7/13

Newburyport mayor emails landfill neighbor and some city councilors to report she has scheduled a meeting with Commissioner Kimmell of the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for May 20 to discuss landfill completion status.

The mayor also states that because of the recent odor complaints, she will also try to contact Susan Rusch of the DEP Northeast Regional Office.

5/7/13

Data from hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood shows almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels during the following periods:

·         Between 6 and 8 parts per billion from 5/4/13 at 6:57 am to 5/4/13 at 8:56 pm

·         Between 6 and 7 parts per billion from 5/5/13 at 7:56 am to 5/5/13 at 8:46 pm

·         6 parts per billion from 5/6/13 at 10:56 am to 5/6/13 at 7:55 pm

Average hydrogen sulfide level at the location during the monitoring period (5/3/13 through 5/7/13) was 4 parts per billion. Maximum level during the period was 9 parts per billion recorded 5/5/13 at 9:56 am.

2/26/13

Newburyport health director emails residents in response to odor complaints received over the past week. He reports that he emailed a Mass Department of Environmental Protection official and she had said she would ask New Ventures to check the gas treatment system at the landfill.

1/17/13

Newburyport Mayor, in email to residents affected by the landfill, explained that complaints about hydrogen sulfide odors around 1/11/13 resulted from shutdown of the flare at the landfill to allow “installation of a new condensate tank that DEP had been requiring for some time.” In addition, she reported, new piping from the pre-treatment system to the flare was installed.

According to the email, the work has been completed and the system is operational.

The mayor also said, “New well heads have been installed and the next steps are the completion of two tests to evaluate gas flows to ensure integrity of the system prior to connecting the new header system. This may be affected by the weather and could be delayed.”

She promised to inform residents when the tests are completed and give them test results and a schedule for connecting the new system.

1/8/13

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 6 parts per billion from 1/4/13 at 11:03 am to 1/8/13 at 9:31 am. Average hydrogen sulfide level at the location during the period was 3 parts per billion. Maximum level during the period was 6 parts per billion recorded 3 different times during the period.

1/4/13

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 6 parts per billion from 1/2/13 at 9:06 am to 1/3/13 at 7:45 pm. Average hydrogen sulfide level at the location during the period was 3 parts per billion. Maximum level during the period was 6 parts per billion recorded 5 different times during the period.

9/7/12

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports, “City officials are reacting to recent complaints about hydrogen sulfide odors from the Crow Lane landfill that have filled the air in recent weeks, including the Labor Day weekend.”

The article states that officials “agree that the closure is almost complete,” but that residents are reporting that “noxious fumes are still emerging from the property.”

9/4/12

After several weeks of hydrogen sulfide odor complaints from neighborhoods near the Crow Lane landfill, the Newburyport Mayor emails neighbors:

I, too, am very frustrated with the continual delays. DEP gives me approximate time frames of next steps and it is not met. We are down to the last final steps but I do not have answers on why the delays - final berm redesign and removal of back road/access, change in drainage for rear pipe to basin one, connection of new header system and final wetlands replication.

The mayor promises to contact the MA Department of Environmental Protection again for answers.

7/12/12

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that New Ventures, the company that owns the landfill, “has registered for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.”

The article says an agreement between the city and New Ventures in association with the DEP to close the landfill “took into account the possibility that the company might succumb to financial duress.” Local officials said they feel assured the landfill will be capped, sealed and left in environmentally acceptable form.

The mayor is quoted in the article: “The work (to close the landfill) is about 95 percent complete, and it will be finished.”

5/3/12

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that city leaders met with the landfill owner “to continue their push for an acceptable cleanup and close-up of the landfill on Crow Lane.”

The article says a memo from the mayor provided updates on erosion, the gas extraction system, wetlands and vernal pool issues, and communication. The mayor will receive weekly reports from a new employee at the landfill and has requested a meeting in late May to update residents “on the progress on final closure and post-closure activities.”

The article also reports that several residents in recent weeks have complained about odors they think originate at the landfill.

4/19/12

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) ordered the landfill owner “to make immediate improvements to reduce odors.” The article says several neighbors complained about nuisance odors over the Patriots Day weekend.

According to the news account, the landfill company blamed a wetland near the landfill for the odors, but a DEP official “disagreed after investigating the complaints himself.” The official reviewed the complaints and weather data and concluded that “the Crow Lane landfill was the source of the odors reported on April 15.”

The DEP official sent a message to the landfill company on April 17 directing them to repair and landfill gas systems, including installation of new wellheads and activation of a new header.

The article also reports that the Newburyport mayor is “concerned that problems are still stemming from the oft-troubled site.” She said “her goal is to have the landfill fully capped and inactive by the end of spring.”

4/9/12

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that last week the Newburyport Conservation Commission directed the landfill owner’s lawyer “to test seepage at the Crow Lane landfill for metals and other impurities.” The lawyer had appeared at the meeting to respond to the commission’s concerns about erosion and seepage at the site.

The article says, “The lawyer seemed to downplay the possibility that toxics were leaving the landfill,” but a commission member insisted and said the tests are inexpensive “and they should be done." The lawyer said he would order the tests.

3/26/12

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 7 parts per billion from 3/22/12 at 12:16 pm to 3/26/12 at 12:15 am. Average hydrogen sulfide level at the location during the period was 4 parts per billion. Maximum level during the period was 7 parts per billion recorded four different times during the period.

3/22/12

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 8 parts per billion from 3/19/12 at 1:06 pm to 3/22/12 at 11:55 pm. Average hydrogen sulfide level at the location during the period was 4 parts per billion. Maximum level during the period was 8 parts per billion recorded 20 different times during the period.

3/14/12

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 6 parts per billion from 3/13/12 at 10:25 am to 3/14/12 at 3:15 am. Average hydrogen sulfide level at the location during the period was 4 parts per billion. Maximum level during the period was 6 parts per billion recorded four different times during the period.

1/5/12

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the Newburyport Conservation Commission is issuing an enforcement order to the landfill owner because “unexpected erosion from the landmass has been detected.” Conditions noted by the commission include “an eroded cap, a destroyed silt fence, seepage through a retaining wall and filled-in wetlands.”

The landfill owner is quoted as saying, “There was a little washout, but we can’t do anything now because it’s winter. But we’ll repair it.”

The conservation officer who advises the commission said, “Grass was planted this fall on the landfill, but it was very late and the season. It didn’t take.”

The article states that the problems arise “at a time when city officials felt they were nearing an end to the capping process, which has taken close to a decade.”

12/31/11

A year-end review news article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports:

The 10-year effort to cap the Crow Lane landfill in Newburyport neared a conclusion in 2011. Though city officials say minor work remains to be done in the spring, most of the trash has been capped and covered with soil.

12/23/11

News article in The Newburyport Current reports that the landfill owner was exempted from “the slight encroachment of the landfill berm onto city property” in exchange for clearing 2 acres of city-owned land on Crow Lane for use as the new leaf composting site.

The same article reports that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said on 12/19/11 that a vegetative cover has been placed over the landfill “but will have to wait until after the winter to finish the job and ensure the surface is completely covered by full-grown grass to help prevent erosion.” The DEP spokesperson said, “The project is not complete, but they did do a lot of work that worked out fairly well.”

The DEP spokesperson said the landfill owner “projected a December finish, but heavy October rains delayed the project and pushed them into next spring.” He also said work yet to be completed includes “the storm water drain system, storm water basin, wetlands mitigation, work on the upper portion of the perimeter berm and a final access road.”

The Newburyport mayor is reported as saying she “considered the level of closure to hit its planned target date with the final touches coming in the spring.”

11/25/11

News article in the Concord (NH) Monitor reports that when the Crow Lane landfill owner was ordered to close his Massachusetts waste facility because of environmental violations, “mounds of construction debris were loaded onto his trucks and sent to an Allenstown [NH] site owned by his brother, according to allegations contained in a search warrant.” The article says 4,000 tons of “rank, decomposing waste” was stored at the New Hampshire site without a permit.

The article also reports that a 2008 case filed by the Massachusetts attorney general stated that the Everett [MA] site was “found to be accumulating excessive amounts of construction debris, which the company was failing to test for asbestos, as the law required.”

11/18/11

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the Newburyport Mayor told the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and Industry that the Crow Lane landfill capping “was finished this week.” She declared, says the article, that the landfill “is almost history.”

The article defines “capping” as “the seeding and spreading of loam on the crown of the mini-mountain of inert refuse has concluded.” The mayor also said, “a new approach to hydro-seeding was successful and is holding the earth.” She added that the landfill is “close to closure.”

Remaining to be completed are a culvert from the landfill to open space across Crow Lane, a system for gas extraction, and a “checkoff list” with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). “These tasks are scheduled for the spring,” the article states.

11/15/11

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 7 parts per billion from 11/10/11 at 3:30 pm to 11/15/11 at 9:18 pm. Average hydrogen sulfide level at the location during the period is 4 parts per billion. Maximum level during the period is 7 parts per billion recorded several times between 11/13/11 at 1:29 pm and 11/14/11 at 5:58 am.

11/10/11

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 8 parts per billion from 11/7/11 at 2:05 pm to 11/10/11 at 2:14 pm. Average hydrogen sulfide level at the location during the period is 3 parts per billion. Maximum level during the period is 8 parts per billion recorded on 11/7/11 at 2:45 pm.

11/7/11

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 7 parts per billion from 11/3/11 at 1:53 pm to 11/7/11 at 2:01 pm. Average hydrogen sulfide level at the location during the period is 3 parts per billion. Maximum level during the period is 7 parts per billion recorded on 11/6/11 at 2:42 pm.

10/25/11

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 6 parts per billion from 10/21/11 at 2:03 pm to 10/25/11 at 1:02 pm. Average hydrogen sulfide level at the location during the period is 1 part per billion. Maximum level during the period is 6 parts per billion recorded on 10/24/11 at 5:02 pm.

10/21/11

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 6 parts per billion from 10/18/11 at 1:36 pm to 10/21/11 at 12:35 pm. Average hydrogen sulfide level at the location during the period is 2 parts per billion. Maximum level during the period is 6 parts per billion recorded on 10/19/11 at 1:06 pm.

10/3/11

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports, “It appears the 10-year project is coming to a conclusion.”

A Newburyport city councilor states in the article, “A third of the entire site has been capped, and progress is being made in the other areas.” The Newburyport Mayor says, “I’ve heard that December might be the final date of work, with some (environmental) follow-up, including culvert replication, in the spring.”

8/19/11

News article in The Newburyport Current reports that rock crushing at the landfill is finished. The article says the noise from rock crushing caused residents to file complaints with the city.

The same article reports that a Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) spokesman said “there had been some erosion at the site lately because of heavy rains.” He added that the erosion should be expected because “the storm water drain system will not be installed until the cap is completed in the fall.”

8/5/11

News article in The Newburyport Current reports that the landfill owner says neighbors of the landfill are “rabble rousers” who are making “bogus” complaints “to keep everything going.”

A Newburyport city councilor is quoted, “There is a problem with odors of late, and I for one have experienced them at the outflow pipe ;that has been a bone of contention for a while now.” Another Newburyport city councilor states, “The residents have raised ‘legitimate issues and complaints’ and are ‘not rabble rousers, but residents that have had a huge impact on their quality of life.’”

The Newburyport mayor states in the article, “First, I am very encouraged with the progress of the work toward closure. … Stone crushing should be completed by the end of [this week].”

The article reports that noise has been a problem “raised by residents last month.” “They complained of blasting starting far too early in the morning.” According to the article, the Newburyport public health director visited the site on July 18 and noted “several” noise violations.

7/29/11

News article in The Newburyport Current reports that one Newburyport city councilor believes the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) “has performed ‘miserably’ and has been ‘very lax in enforcement’ regarding oversight of the activities of a private owner of the Crow Lane Landfill site.”

7/29/11

Editorial in The Newburyport Current states:

[A recent editorial] chose the image of curtains gently blowing into a room on a summer’s breeze as the center to our ruminations. This may be why it strikes us particularly hard to hear our Newburyport neighbors who live in the vicinity of the Crow Lane Landfill tell us that, thanks to odors they call “noxious,” this simple summer pleasure is not for them this year.

… one Newburyport resident even wrote to state and city officials posing the question, “Is it asking too much to be able to open your windows on a nice night?”

… even if it’s true that public health is not compromised by the odiferous contents of Crow Lane Landfill, quality of life surely is.

7/22/11

News article in The Newburyport Current reports that the Newburyport health director stated the company capping the Crow Lane landfill “may be cited for noise violations at the site.” The article says the health director visited the site July 18 and found several noise violations. He found enough potential noise problems to draft an order now under review by the city’s lawyer. After review, “that order is expected to be sent out to New Ventures [the landfill owner].”

The article says the Newburyport mayor stated a verbal order was issued by the city Health Department to prohibit rock crushing before 8 a.m.

7/22/11

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports outbreaks of odors and complaints about noisy capping work at the landfill early in the morning. The city councilor representing the neighborhoods near the landfill says gases causing the odors are emanating from manholes connected to a drainage pipe at the site. The councilor also says “there’s some question as to whether New Ventures [the landfill owner] intends to mitigate the gases flowing from the outflow pipe as part of the state-mandated work.”

The article says the landfill owner has claimed the hydrogen sulfide levels are minimal, per their readings, but the councilor “is ready to dispute their science if it comes to a showdown over the outflow pipe.”

The article headline states, “Landfill capping reaching home stretch – Only problem seems to be odors from manholes of overflow pipe.”

7/15/11

News article in The Newburyport Current reports that the Newburyport city councilor representing the neighborhoods near the landfill will contact the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection about “rotten egg” odors from the Crow Lane landfill. The councilor corroborated complaints from residents over the past week.

The councilor is quoted as saying, “The complaints have been sporadic and not like they were a year ago. It is calmed down dramatically, but one complaint is too many. It’s affecting some people out there.”

5/27/11

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that drilling started on 5/26/11 “to prepare for blasting expected to begin next week.”

The article also says local officials “are assuring that work at the landfill will not disrupt the Memorial Day weekend celebrations of neighbors who have endured years of ruined backyard barbecues and outdoor activities from wafting landfill gases.”

According to the same article, drilling will be noisy but it is not expected to release any hydrogen sulfide, “as was the case when the owner of the landfill last performed blasting at the site.”

5/5/11

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that residents within ½ mile of the landfill will receive telephone notification 1 hour in advance of blasting planned near the landfill site. According to the article, the Newburyport mayor said a blasting protocol will be followed and the blasting will be observed by the fire department, the MA Department of Environmental Protection, and an engineering firm.

The article reports that blasting last fall “was accompanied by an overpowering smell of hydrogen sulfide throughout the neighborhoods that border the landfill property.” The mayor stated that improvements “will keep odors from erupting this time around.” The mayor also said that work will stop immediately if odors are detected.

5/2/11

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records hydrogen sulfide level of 5 parts per billion about 6:20 pm. Charmanski Dr. resident calls in and emails a complaint.

4/26/11

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the Newburyport City Council refused to endorse licensing agreements allowing the landfill owner access to city property for performing wetlands restoration associated with the landfill closure. The article states, “Councilors remain wary of the man who they say has broken too many promises to the city and landfill neighbors to be trusted.”

The article reports that the Newburyport mayor “voiced displeasure with the council’s vote,” but she also noted that the agreements do not require council approval. “We will go forward,” she said.

4/26/11

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 26 parts per billion from 4/21/11 at 2 pm to 4/26/11 at 12 pm. The average reading for the period was 4 parts per billion and the maximum was 26 parts per billion (4/22/11 at 7:20 pm).

4/19/11

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 6 parts per billion from 4/15/11 at 11:42 am to 4/19/11 at 11:00 am.

4/15/11

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 6 parts per billion from 4/12/11 at 1:52 pm to 4/15/11 at 10:41 am. The average reading for the period was 4 parts per billion and the maximum was 6 parts per billion.

4/15/11

Charmanski Dr. resident calls in and emails a complaint about hydrogen sulfide odor at his home about 7:20 pm.

4/15/11

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that at a public landfill update meeting on April 14 at Newburyport City Hall, the landfill owner’s engineer announced a new capping completion date of September, 2011, “although the landfill was initially slated for capping and closure by the end of May [2011].” According to the article, the landfill owner’s lawyer said the delay was necessary because the landfill owner “has agreed to install a new header pipe” for easier maintenance and repair and improved performance. (Meeting video available.)

The article presents the following schedule for 2011 activities at the landfill:

May 2011 - Place riprap on the northwest side of the berm and build a wall near that location.

June 2011 - Begin hauling in sand for placement over the flexible membrane liner (FML).

July 2011 - Restore wetlands on city property across Crow Lane from the landfill and install new header piping on the landfill.

August 2011 - Place sand and loam over the FML.

September 2011 - Plant grass on the loam layer.

October and November 2011 - Complete any outstanding items and monitor vegetative growth on the landfill cap.

4/12/11

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 7 parts per billion from 4/8/11 at 12:06 pm to 4/12/11 at 12:14 pm.

4/7/11

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 7 parts per billion from 4/5/11 at 1:59 pm to 4/7/11 at 11:48 pm.

3/30/11

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records hydrogen sulfide level of 5 parts per billion about 8:50 pm. Charmanski Dr. resident calls in and emails a complaint.

The complaint email states, “Another evening interrupted! We have not called in an odor complaint for a while, not because it does not smell, but because we are sick of calling.”

3/6/11

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records hydrogen sulfide level of 6 parts per billion about 6:20 pm. Charmanski Dr. resident calls in and emails a complaint.

The complaint email states, “The stench is very noticeable outside my home, and has now seeped inside. The Jerome meter read 6ppb at 7:20pm. The odors have been noticeable for the last hour or two. Another evening a family dinner has been negatively affected by the landfill.”

2/22/11

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 4 and 15 parts per billion from 2/20/11 at 10:12 am to 2/22/11 at 11:41 am.

12/28/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 9 parts per billion from 12/23/10 at 12:40 pm to 12/28/10 at 10:48 am.

12/21/10

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announces by email that the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office filed an amendment to the April 30, 2009 Final Judgment.

According to the DEP announcement, the amendment:

·         Allows wetlands restoration and replication on city property south of Crow Lane to compensate for impact to the wetlands on the north and west side of the landfill caused by berm design improvements [minimum of 2 to 1 replication/ restoration ratio for any lost wetlands].

·         Revises the landfill closure plan to improve and simplify construction of a portion of the landfill perimeter berm by reducing the height of the berm along Crow Lane and shortening the length of the landfill access road.

·         Requires that the flexible membrane liner (“FML”) cap be extended to cover the top of the berm in order to improve storm water control.

·         Provides construction protocols and deadlines for installation of the sand drainage layer and placement of the loam and seed on top of the synthetic cap on the landfill.

·         Requires that final design plans be submitted to DEP for the landfill storm water collection basin 1, including storm water calculations to demonstrate that it meets the design performance standards and will supply clean water to the vernal pool on city property across Crow Lane.

·         Requires that blasting needed for the storm water basin to meet DEP approved design depth and to assure proper discharge to the vernal pool be controlled and strictly monitored to prevent odor problems.

The announcement also states:

Berm preparation and other closure work has been proceeding at the landfill and will continue as long as weather permits. A significant portion of the berm should be completed before construction stops for the winter. The remaining berm work will be finished in the spring as well as the wetlands work and installation of the final vegetative cover on top of the landfill.

11/21/10

News article in The Boston Sunday Globe reports:

Eager to put years of complaints and litigation behind him, New Ventures owner William Thibeault indicated that if the state approves the berm design, he would do as much work as the weather will allow this year before returning in the spring to complete it.

“It’s getting close,” said Mayor Donna D. Holaday. “I did hear from DEP [recently] that they’re just waiting on a couple of documents on the berm design engineering. Then [it would go back] to court and hopefully everything will be signed off.”

The article says state environmental officials reviewing a new berm design recently asked for more information from the landfill owner, but a state spokesperson said it’s too early to say when the design will be approved.

11/14/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 3 parts per billion from 4:38 am to 7:27 pm.

11/12/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 6 and 9 parts per billion from 11:58 am to 4:59 pm on 11/12/10.

Same station records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 4 parts per billion from 5:09 pm on 11/12/10 to 12 am on 11/14/10.

11/12/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 4 and 6 parts per billion from 11:25 am on 11/10/10 to 10:44 am on 11/12/10. Average reading for the entire 2-day period is 4 parts per billion and readings do not fall below 1 part per billion for the entire recording period.

11/9/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 3 parts per billion from 11:38 am on 11/7/10 to 3:37 am on 11/9/10.

11/3/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 8 parts per billion from 1:32 pm to 11:43 pm.

11/2/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 5 parts per billion from 1:50 pm on 10/29/10 to 10:07 pm on 11/2/10.

10/29/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 4 parts per billion from 12:48 pm on 10/28/10 to 5:28 am on 10/29/10.

10/24/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 5 parts per billion from 1:17 pm on 10/22/10 to 2:46 pm on 10/24/10.

10/20/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 3 parts per billion from 1:34 pm on 10/19/10 to 12:45 am on 10/20/10.

Same station records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 4 parts per billion from 11:14 am to 9:54 pm on 10/20/10.

10/18/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 3 parts per billion from 11:22 am on 10/16/10 to 1:01 am on 10/18/10.

10/13/10

Boston WBZ Channel 4 live TV news report says neighbors of the Crow Lane landfill are suffering from hydrogen sulfide emitted by the landfill. “For nearly a decade, the project has dragged on. Meantime, that smell,” says the reporter. “It’s nasty,” comments the Newburyport mayor in an interview at the site.

The reporter says, “We can smell it as we stand here right now.” She adds, “State officials have been fighting over this for the last decade. In fact, they’ve been in and out of court.”

10/13/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 4 parts per billion from 11:42 am to 10:32 pm.

10/12/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 3 parts per billion from 2:02 pm to 6:12 pm.

10/10/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 4 parts per billion for more than 2 days: from 1 pm on 10/8/10 to 10 pm on 10/10/10.

9/24/10

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that “hopes that the landfill will be capped by the end of this year have been dashed.” The article states the capping “will miss another deadline, ending the hopes of all parties involved to see it finished this fall.”

9/24/10

News article in The Newburyport Current reports that the Newburyport City Council is considering a new ordinance to limit noise, light and smell in the city. According to the article, “The so-called atmospheric pollution ordinance is being closely followed by neighbors of the Crow Lane landfill who have complained for years of noxious odors emitted by the site.”

9/24/10

News article in The Newburyport Current reports that on September 21 the Newburyport Conservation Commission voted to support another new landfill berm design proposal “subject to a variety of conditions the members would like to see in the final order regarding the site.”

The article also states, “The vote is an important part of moving closure forward, as the berm design was a topic of dispute between the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the landfill owner New Ventures.”

According to the article:

The new proposal calls for an earthen berm; the previous design included a mechanically stabilized berm made up of compacted earth and synthetic materials. The new design also aims to address MassDEP concerns about stability.

9/17/10

News article in The Newburyport Current reports that blasting at the landfill will cease and the City of Newburyport will not issue more blasting permits until the recent odor problems are corrected. The article states, “The move comes after more than a week of unusually high odor complaints.”

The report continues:

“I will not let [the company who owns and operates the landfill] disturb this area again until they come up with a plan to resolve this issue,” said [Newburyport Mayor] Holaday.

She said she told company officials “don’t even ask me to give you a blasting permit until I have a plan that guarantees there are no odors.”

“I will not under any circumstances let another weekend go on like this, with the residents smelling that. It was horrific.”

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has also told the company to halt blasting until a solution to the most recent odor problem is found. Holaday said the deodorizer brought to the site over the weekend is just a band-aid and the company needs to come up with a long-term solution at the section to blame for the worst odors.

9/14/10

News article posted on The Newburyport Current website reports, “An increasing flurry of e-mails over the past week about the Crow Lane landfill have reflected increasing frustration on the part of neighbors, who say the site continues to emit noxious odors.”

The article continues:

Residents’ complaints have continued for years. The complaints reached a frenzy last week and over the weekend as residents said the odors were worsening. Residents’ calls for action on the problem became increasingly prevalent as the odors heightened.

Residents say the smell has made them sick, affected their lives and been an ongoing nuisance.

E-mails said the smells were disrupting sleep and causing watery eyes and headaches.

The article reprints several e-mails from affected residents.

9/13/10

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports, "‘Horrific’ smells have permeated the Crow Lane neighborhood since Thursday night as New Ventures and the state push to finally finish capping the landfill and end the decade-long process.”

The article continues:

Complaints of hydrogen sulfide in the neighborhood have been increasing over the last week. And on Thursday, they reached higher levels, Mayor Donna Holaday said.

“I can't tell you how horrible it was out there last night,” the mayor said Friday.

Neighbors expressed outrage and frustration, reporting coughs, headaches, sinus problems and nausea they've dealt with for years.

9/13/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood displays hydrogen sulfide level of 11 parts per billion at about 4:15 a.m.

Several residents complain via email about odors.

9/12/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 22 parts per billion between 6:19 am and 12:29 pm.

9/11/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood displays hydrogen sulfide level of 15 parts per billion at about 4:30 a.m.

Emails from residents indicate several complaints have been called into the landfill telephone or emailed to officials.

9/11/10

Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) notifies the landfill owner that he is in noncompliance with the final judgment because of nuisance odors from the landfill on September 9, 10 and 11.

The notice orders the landfill owner to:

·         Stop the release of landfill gas.

·         Cease blasting in one of the stormwater basins.

·         Identify sources of gas at the landfill.

·         Submit detailed plans within 14 days to DEP for lining the stormwater basin to prevent gas migration and escape, installing a landfill gas venting system to capture and treat gas escaping from the discharge line of the stormwater basin, and optimizing and repairing the landfill gas system.

·         Remove any “odiferous water or leachate” from stormwater basin 1.

The notice states that DEP reserves its right to take action necessary to control or eliminate release of gas and to draw funds from the from the financial assurance mechanism (“FAM”) trust fund for actions taken.

9/10/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 20 parts per billion between 8:50 am and 12:40 pm.

9/9/10

In an email to residents, the Newburyport mayor reports that she has “just left Crow Lane and the odors are very bad.”

The mayor states that the landfill owner has ordered an employee to bring deodorizing equipment to Newburyport from Everett, and that equipment “will hopefully provide some relief within a few hours.” She also says that the cause of the odor problems cannot be determined until tomorrow.

9/9/10

In an email to residents, Newburyport health director states, “The City is hopeful that final capping will take place by years end.”

8/20/10

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the landfill owner and the state will start mediation next week to come to an agreement on the design of the berm for the landfill. The article reports that neighbors are still complaining about hydrogen sulfide from the landfill, and that the state and the landfill owner are trying “to finish the capping by the end of the construction season.”

8/14/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 5 parts per billion between 10:34 pm on 8/13/10 and 2:44 am on 8/14/10.

8/10/10

After a visit to the landfill, Newburyport mayor reports in an email to residents that the landfill owner said he “completed the work on the basin and pipe as he stated yesterday.” The mayor also stated the landfill owner said he would “bring engineering in to try to increase gas extraction from that section near basin one.”

The mayor’s email also said she is concerned about the rear section of the landfill “as the odors were strong there this evening.” She said residents should notice an improvement in odors compared with the previous week.

8/8/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records hydrogen sulfide level of 22 parts per billion at about 10:28 p.m. Readings at the station are between 2 and 22 parts per billion almost continuously between 8:18 pm on 8/7/10 and 3:58 am on 8/8/10. Emails from residents in the area indicate that complaints were called into the landfill about that time.

8/7/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records hydrogen sulfide level of 9 parts per billion at about 8:30 p.m. Emails from residents in the area indicate that complaints were called into the landfill about that time.

8/6/10

News article in The Newburyport Current reports, “A flurry of odor reports streamed in over the July 30 weekend and the state Department of Environmental Protection sent landfill owner New Ventures another notice of noncompliance.”

8/3/10

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that neighbors of the Crow Lane landfill filed complaints of odors over the weekend “as the state was sending New Ventures a non-compliance letter.”

The landfill owner is quoted as saying, “There have been no confirmed odors.” According to the article, the owner said the complaints “were reported by ‘the typical activists.’”

8/2/10

A Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) email reports that New Ventures removed one of the three pretreatment tanks from the site on July 29 to replace the pretreatment media, and that New Ventures reported that the tank was filled with new treatment media, returned to the site, and reconnected on July 31.

The DEP email also reports that Shaw personnel observed this morning that he pretreatment tank had been returned and reconnected to the pretreatment system, the concentration of hydrogen sulfide into the flare was meeting the removal standard under the Final Judgment, and New Ventures had removed another pre-treatment tank from the landfill gas system. New Ventures’ personnel informed Shaw that this tank had been removed to be recharged with new pretreatment media.

7/30/10

Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issues a notice informing the landfill owner that as a result of inspections of the landfill by Shaw personnel on July 28 and 30, 2010, New Ventures is in noncompliance with the final judgment including failing to operate the landfill gas pretreatment system in accordance with the required performance standards.

7/30/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 3 parts per billion between 1:50 pm and 10:50 pm on 7/30/10.

7/29/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records hydrogen sulfide level at 11 parts per billion at 9:30 pm.

7/9/10

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the landfill owner said he and the state have had several “positive” meetings and are working toward the goal of capping the landfill this year. The article says the state and the owner have not yet met with a mediator and are meeting on their own instead, hoping to reach a resolution.

The report quotes an email from the Massachusetts attorney general’s office:

The commonwealth and New Ventures have been meeting in an effort to resolve the various landfill disputes without mediation in an effort to reach agreement on the berm design and closure work in time for the landfill to be completely closed and covered with loam and grass seed before winter. At the same time, the commonwealth is complying with Judge Cratsley’s order and schedule so that mediation may start as soon as possible should the parties fail to reach agreement without mediation.

The article also reports that Newburyport mayor said she believes progress is being made.

6/9/10

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the landfill owner is pleased with the June 2 ruling in Suffolk Superior Court. He says the ruling shows the judge “believes New Ventures ‘is not at fault like the state keeps trying to claim we are.’” The owner also states that the landfill capping is 90 percent complete. He is quoted, “The flare is working, the gas system is working, the liner is on.”

The article also reports that the landfill owner will start choosing candidates for a mediator as required by the June 2 ruling.

6/2/10

Suffolk Superior Court Justice denies the Attorney General’s motion for contempt for New Ventures’ failure to submit Landfill cost estimates that were adequate, saying New Ventures submitted cost estimates to DEP after being served with the contempt complaint. The AG argued that New Ventures was still in contempt of the Court’s March 30th order because NV’s post-closure cost estimate submission failed to meet the regulatory standard, but the judge disagreed because there was no deadline for these submissions in the court order and no requirement that the cost estimates be acceptable or reasonable.

The judge also denies New Ventures’ motion to order closure of the landfill using its berm design and according to its cost schedule, and also refuses to order the release of funds from the Financial Assurance Mechanism (“FAM”) to New Ventures according to New Ventures’ cost schedule. The judge stated:

The Commonwealth has raised serious concerns about the ability of New Ventures to complete the closure of this landfill consistent with applicable agreements and regulations.  New Ventures should have one final opportunity using a third-party mediator to resolve their disputes with the Commonwealth about closure procedures and costs.  If mediation fails, the drastic remedy sought by the Commonwealth of default and takeover of the closure process would certainly be required by the Fall of 2010.

The judge continues the Attorney General’s motion for a supplemental order declaring that New Ventures was in default of its Landfill closure obligations for failing to correct the deficiencies identified by the Department in the modified berm design and related geotechnical evaluation and to meet other closure deadlines. This motion is continued without resolution until October 1st and the parties are ordered to participate in voluntary mediation in “one final opportunity” to resolve the berm design and closure and post-closure cost estimates and FAM.

5/21/10

Press release from the office of the Massachusetts Attorney General announces that the Attorney General asked a Suffolk Superior Court judge this week “to find the owner of the Crow Lane landfill in contempt of court for defaulting on its obligations under a 2009 court-ordered judgment, as well as a March 29 order of the Superior Court to close the Newburyport landfill.”

The press release states:

In a complaint filed this week, the AG’s Office argues that New Ventures LLC, is in contempt of a March 29, 2010 ruling by Suffolk Superior Court Judge John C. Cratsley, ordering it to submit for MassDEP approval a full and complete estimate of how much it will cost to close the landfill and handle post-closure responsibilities.  The order asks the court to order New Ventures to pay a civil penalty, to be determined by the court, for each day New Ventures remains in contempt of the March order. A hearing date has not been scheduled yet.

AG Coakley’s office also filed a motion today requesting that the court find New Ventures in default of its obligation to make necessary stability changes to the landfill’s perimeter berm and build the berm according to a MassDEP approved design plan, as required by an April 2009 final judgment. The berm surrounds the landfill’s perimeter and supports the massive weight behind the landfill’s slide slopes, holding the slopes in place and preventing the landfill mass from moving or collapsing.

4/30/10

News article in The Newburyport Current reports that the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is aware that the landfill owner has started repair work on the plastic cover and gas extraction wells but is moving ahead with its own bids for the repair work “in the event that New Ventures does not fully or properly complete the repairs.” The DEP spokesperson quoted in the article says DEP is monitoring the repairs.

4/29/10

Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) notifies landfill owner that the DEP’s engineer at the landfill reported a hole in the condensate collection tank, corrosion and condensate at the base of the tank, and the infiltration of air into the tank. The notice states these problems occurred “because New Ventures failed to properly maintain the condensate tank.” According to the notice, landfill employees attempted to repair the tank with foam insulation and vinyl tape, which is “neither an effective or permanent repair.”

The notice states that “New Ventures continues to fail to implement the required repairs to the enclosed flare and pretreatment system, including, but not limited to, the repair and activation of the propane assist and of the stack insulation.”

The notification states that DEP intends to send written notification within 14 days to the trustee [of the financial assurance mechanism] of the landfill owner’s failure to conduct action required. It says the notification it sends will instruct the trustee that the DEP is securing exclusive control over the financial assurance mechanism for repairing the enclosed flare and repairing or replacing the condensate collection tank.

The notice reminds the landfill owner that the financial assurance mechanism must have enough money to pay for all closure and post-closure maintenance costs and that the owner must continuously maintain financial assurance adequate to assure the Department that “New Ventures is at all times financially capable of complying with the provisions of 310 CMR 19.00” governing the closure of the landfill and its post closure maintenance.

4/26/10

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the landfill owner hired contractors to make repairs to the wind-damaged plastic cover of the landfill and damaged wells and that the work is nearly done. The article says the landfill owner stated that the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) “would have spent far more of his money than is needed to complete the work.”

The same work has been put out for bid by the DEP after it received authority to make the repairs in the 4/2/10 court ruling. The landfill owner says he attempted to reach the DEP for weeks prior to the ruling.

The article quotes the landfill owner:

For two weeks I was calling them [DEP], but instead of being cooperative and meeting with us, they put in an emergency order to take all of the money [financial assurance mechanism] and take over the landfill to do the repairs.

The article states that the financial assurance mechanism has $2.7 million “after some of it was used to make state-ordered repairs last year.”

4/17/10

Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) notifies landfill owner that he has failed to submit a modified landfill berm design that corrects all the deficiencies in the DEP’s 10/6/09 notice. The notice states that this failure places the owner in contempt of the Final Judgment and in default in its landfill closure obligations. According to the notice, the owner must take action within 14 days or the DEP will take over correction of the landfill berm using funds from the financial assurance mechanism (FAM).

The notice also reminds the landfill owner that the financial assurance mechanism must have enough money to pay for all closure and post-closure maintenance costs and that the owner must continuously maintain financial assurance adequate to assure the Department that “New Ventures is at all times financially capable of complying with the provisions of 310 CMR 19.00” governing the closure of the landfill and its post closure maintenance.

4/6/10

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the landfill owner denied allegations that he had not addressed storm damage at the landfill. The news report states, “Thibeault said he had every intention to fix the issue but needed to tap the FAM [financial assurance mechanism] to do it.”

4/2/10

Suffolk Superior Court judge orders the landfill owner to give Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) immediate access to the landfill for repairing the damaged flexible membrane and gas extraction wells. Judge also authorizes DEP to use funds from the financial assurance mechanism (FAM) to pay for those repairs. In addition, the landfill owner must submit a revised closure and post-closure cost estimate to DEP for review and approval.

3/30/10

Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) notifies landfill owner that he is not in compliance with the final judgment (Suffolk Superior Court C.A. 06-0790 C, as amended by Orders of the court on 5/27/09 and 10/7/09) according to inspections on 3/29/10 and 3/30/10. The non-compliance includes failing to operate the landfill gas pretreatment system in accordance with the required performance standards and failing to control and mitigate releases of leachate from the landfill.

3/26/10

Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) files motions in Suffolk Superior Court requesting the court to declare the landfill owner in default in his landfill closure obligations, to allow the DEP to access the landfill and complete the closure process, and to allow the DEP to repair the damaged landfill flexible membrane and gas extraction wells.

The motions also ask the court to order the landfill owner to submit revised cost estimates for all closure tasks and for maintenance after the landfill has been closed.

One of the documents filed with the court states:

New Ventures has a long history of failing to operate the landfill in a manner that prevents the release of noxious hydrogen sulfide and other landfill gases – even when the landfill was generating revenue. New Ventures’ persistent delays in fully and promptly responding to problems at the landfill, and its claims that it has no funds to repair the storm damage or carry out its landfill closure and post-closure obligations, warrant the conclusion that it has breached its agreement and defaulted on its statutory obligations.

3/15/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 7 parts per billion between 3:02 pm on 3/12/10 and 10:31 am on 3/15/10. The average reading for the period was 5 ppb.

3/12/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 7 parts per billion between 12:20 pm on 3/11/10 and 2:20 pm on 3/12/10. The average reading for the period was 5 ppb.

3/11/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 6 parts per billion between 12:27 pm on 3/10/10 and 11:16 am on 3/11/10. The average reading for the period was 3 ppb.

3/10/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 8 parts per billion between 1:06 pm on 3/9/10 and 11:06 am on 3/10/10. The average reading for the period was 4 ppb.

3/9/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 6 parts per billion between 1:24 pm on 3/8/10 and 11:44 am on 3/9/10. The average reading for the period was 5 ppb.

3/8/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 9 parts per billion between 1 pm on 3/5/10 and 12 pm on 3/8/10. The average reading for the period was 5 ppb.

3/5/10

Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) notifies landfill owner that the financial assurance mechanism set up for post-closure expenses when the landfill capping began “is not adequately funded to cover post-closure costs and has not been properly maintained.”

The notice states that the landfill owner failed to provide the required “revised estimates that fully and adequately estimate closure and post-closure costs and the amount of increase necessary to fully fund the Standby Trust Account.” The notice also directs the landfill owner to “properly fund and maintain the Standby Trust Account.”

The same notice states that in 2006 the landfill owner estimated post-closure costs to be $4,478,400 and that the current Standby Trust Account contains only $2,730,252.

3/5/10

Landfill owner’s lawyer responds to the 3/3/10 denial of approval for the for proposed modifications the design of the landfill berm, saying that the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) notice is premature, misinterprets the conclusions of the landfill owner’s engineering company, and “is not supported by the data submitted to date.”

3/5/10

Landfill owner’s lawyer sends a letter to the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) stating that the DEP’s intention to draw funds from the financial assurance mechanism to repair the flexible membrane at the landfill damaged by the storm on 2/25/10 “is not warranted by the settlement agreement.” The letter states that DEP does not have authority to draw funds from the FAM because of the landfill owner’s response to the damage, the landfill owner’s action plan, and the “absence of any public health threat.”

3/5/10

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that state legislators representing the Newburyport area filed new legislation “to allow the Department of Environmental Protection to enter a landfill immediately in order to perform remediation work if the owner or operator does not take immediate action.”

The report says, “Under current law, the state cannot go in and take action, but can only direct the owner to clean up the site.”

One of the legislators sponsoring the new law states, “We’re dealing with a landfill operator that has used just about every stalling tactic known to man. … If we’re successful with this legislation, the DEP is given this tool, I think you’ll see them act swiftly.”

The article continues:

Costello [state representative for the Newburyport area] said yesterday the Crow Lane landfill has been a problem he’s encountered since the day he took office. There has not been “one bit of respite” for the people who live there or for city or state officials who have been working to solve the problem, he said.

3/5/10

News article in The Newburyport Current reports about the new legislation for allowing Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to enter landfills for taking remedial action. The article states that the legislation is a direct response “to outrageous circumstances” at the landfill, “which has been a threat to public health and environmental safety for years.”

3/5/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 8 parts per billion between 1 pm on 3/4/10 and 11:30 am on 3/5/10. The average reading for the period was 6 ppb.

3/4/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 6 parts per billion between 12:30 pm on 3/3/10 and 12 pm on 3/4/10. The average reading for the period was 5 ppb.

3/3/10

Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) denies approval for proposed modifications the design of the landfill berm by the landfill owner’s engineering company. The DEP notice states that the design does not provide a sufficient safety factor.

3/3/10

Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) notifies landfill owner that it may access the landfill to repair the flexible membrane damaged by a storm on 2/25/10.

3/3/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 2 and 6 parts per billion between 12:20 pm on 3/2/10 and 11:30 am on 3/3/10. The average reading for the period was 4 ppb.

3/2/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 1 and 6 parts per billion between 2:15 pm on 3/1/10 and 11:45 am on 3/2/10. The average reading for the period was 4 ppb.

3/1/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 6 parts per billion between 12 pm on 2/27/10 and 12 pm on 3/1/10.

2/27/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 6 parts per billion between 2 pm on 2/25/10 and 10 am on 2/27/10.

2/26/10

Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) sends email to Newburyport officials and residents near landfill to report that about 10 percent of the flexible membrane liner (FML) covering the landfill was damaged by a storm during the previous night. The email states the damage occurred on the southwest corner of the landfill.

The email also reports that two landfill gas extraction wells were damaged and that the landfill gas system is shut down “due to the damaged wells and a power outage in Newburyport.”

The email message outlines the following plan to repair the problem:

New Ventures [the landfill owner] personnel are implementing measures to secure the edges of the undamaged FML and assessing how to repair the FML. New Ventures has also indicated they are attempting to obtain an emergency crew from the FML installer to repair the damaged FML. In addition, New Ventures is evaluating and will implement measures to reactivate the undamaged portion of the landfill gas extraction system and the two damaged extraction wells.

Shaw personnel will continue to monitor and report to MassDEP the status of activities at the Landfill today and during the weekend.

A second DEP email to Newburyport officials and residents reports that operation of the undamaged portion of the landfill gas system resumed at approximately 1:50 p.m. today. The email also reports that temporary caps were placed on the three damaged extraction wells and other landfill gas piping pending repair of the wells and that the edges of the undamaged membrane liner (FML) covering the landfill were secured with sandbags.

The email said an automatic flow control valve on the flare had also been replaced and that the flare and gas treatment system are operating properly.

According to the email, the landfill owner “is continuing to contact” the FML installer to arrange for emergency repairs to the FML.

2/26/10

News article in The Newburyport Current reports that the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has used $400,000 from the landfill financial assurance mechanism (similar to an escrow account funded by the landfill owner at the start of the capping process) to pay a company installing the flexible membrane liner (FML) over the landfill. As a result, the amount in the account has been reduced to $2.6 million.

The article also reports, “New Ventures [the landfill owner] is claiming that other DEP-mandated repairs will have to come from that fund.”

According to the article, the city councilor representing the ward containing the landfill “is concerned about use of the fund in this manner. But he is more worried about the fact that the city has yet to receive a report on the stability of the berm that supports the landfill.” The councilor also stated that DEP “should have taken over the landfill two years ago and used the financial assurance mechanism to close the landfill. They never should have negotiated with New Ventures to bring in more volume.”

2/26/10

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that a spokesperson for the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) stated that the landfill owner is required to take all actions necessary to return to compliance and to address the specific issues outlined in the 2/19/10 letter from the DEP to the landfill owner. The article quotes the DEP spokesperson as stating, "They have to [comply with the letter]. They're in violation of the settlement agreement and final judgment."

2/25/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels between 3 and 6 parts per billion between 1 pm on 2/24/10 and 12 pm on 2/25/10.

2/19/10

Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) sends landfill owner another notice of non-compliance with the 5/27/09 settlement agreement and final judgment. This notice orders the landfill owner to “return to full compliance with the requirements of the Final Judgment and this notice.”

The notice also states that the DEP “reserves the right to draw funds against the Trust Fund Property [the financial assurance set up when the landfill capping process began] for any actions conducted by Mass DEP pursuant to paragraph 27 of the Final Judgment.”

2/12/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records almost continuous hydrogen sulfide levels of 5 to 6 parts per billion between 2/10/10 at 5 p.m. and 2/12/10 at 7:52 a.m.

2/10/10

Editorial in The Daily News of Newburyport states, “It’s heartening to see a Newburyport city councilor try to change laws to bring some justice to the hundreds of people who have suffered through the stench of the ill-managed Crow Lane landfill capping.”

The editorial also states, “Individuals at New Ventures, starting with its owner, need to be held personally responsible for committing a crime against neighbors. Enough with the negotiations. Newburyport ought to start getting creative and putting the hammer down.”

The editorial ends with the following:

Let’s break this down to what it is, an offense by one neighbor against another neighbor. Then let the criminal courts start sorting this out. Perhaps then we will finally start getting results.

2/8/10

City councilor introduces an amendment to the Newburyport city ordinance related to atmospheric pollution. The draft amendment would levy fines for allowing a source of air contamination to exist, and specifically includes “refuse dumps and piles.”

The draft amendment is sent to the council’s General Government committee and the Planning and Development committee for discussion and recommendations before approval by the entire city council.

2/5/10

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the landfill flare, “a device at the Crow Lane landfill used to help control the odors of hydrogen sulfide,” malfunctioned Wednesday night [2/3/10]. The article reports that no complaints were received, although emails from landfill neighbors during the time the flare was not operating reported “a burning smell.”

2/5/10

Newburyport mayor, in an email to residents near the landfill, reports that the landfill flare is once again operational.

Her email message also states that the landfill owner’s lawyer reported to Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that landfill employees or contractors were “changing the media tank which required the flare to be shut down.”

Her email message continues:

Following the change in the tank the flare could not be restarted and additional support was brought into to evaluate the situation. Initial attempts to rectify the problem were unsuccessful and parts were shipped in this morning and the flare was successfully repaired and restarted. DEP requested NV remain onsite to ensure the flare was working properly and I received I call late this afternoon from Ethan [landfill employee] that all was working properly. Shaw [DEP-contracted engineering firm] will be onsite this weekend to ensure the flare continues to operate appropriately.

2/2/10

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that on 1/29/10 the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) received a response from the landfill owner challenging the 1/26/10 DEP order. In the story, the Newburyport mayor states, "They're challenging some of the statements, and others they're saying they'll investigate."

A spokesperson for the DEP would confirm only that DEP had received the landfill owner’s response and that “the state is reviewing that letter and is continuing to have discussions with the attorney general's office on the response.”

The article also recaps the history of DEP penalties imposed at the landfill:

New Ventures had been fined a total of $264,800 in penalties by the DEP since 2000, most of which has been allowed to go unpaid. As of August, $75,000 had been paid to the state, $14,800 was under appeal and $175,000 considered "suspended penalty," fines that will be waived if New Ventures meets performance milestones outlined for the capping.

2/2/10

Letter to editor in The Daily News of Newburyport urges the City of Newburyport to “hire a law firm with industry-leading legal, engineering, and environmental experience with specific and clear skills in the nature of litigation of landfill permits, operations, nuisance and health threats.”

The letter continues, “This is the time to approach the issue as if it will not be resolved unless the city (that's right, the city) takes a proactive, responsible, and assertive approach.”

1/29/10

News article in The Newburyport Current reports about the 1/26/10 Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) order requiring the landfill owner to correct conditions at the landfill within 72 hours. An accompanying article reprints several email messages by affected residents and city officials describing physical and emotional effects of the landfill gas and frustration with government agencies who should be protecting the public.

1/27/10

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports about the 1/26/10 notice issued by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and says the odor from the landfill has reached “unbearable levels.” The article states that the settlement agreement of 5/27/09 was meant to fix problems at the landfill, “but problems have persisted, and the past week or so has been one of the worst for the landfill’s several hundred neighbors.”

1/26/10

Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) notifies the landfill owner that he is not complying with 5/27/09 settlement agreement and final judgment. The notice lists the following items, stating that the list may not be complete:

·         Failure to locate and control releases of hydrogen sulfide and other gases.

·         Failure to extract landfill gases at a sufficient rate for proper operation of the gas system.

·         Failure to operate the gas collection system at a vacuum sufficient to control emission of gases.

·         Failure to adjust the gas system or take other measures to prevent release of gas and to meet the gas system performance requirements of the settlement agreement and final judgment.

·         Failure to keep the gas system in good working condition by repairing and maintaining the extraction wells, header lines, condensate collection system, pretreatment system and the enclosed flare.

·         Failure to remove moisture from the extraction wells and to drain condensate from the gas pretreatment system.

·         Failure to remove and recharge the media that removes hydrogen sulfide from the landfill gas.

·         Failure to keep the required inventory of spare parts at the site.

The order requires the landfill owner to take specific action to correct the non-compliance within 72 hours. The notice states that if the landfill owner fails to take action, the DEP “reserves the right to draw funds against the Trust Fund Property for any actions conducted by MassDEP.”

1/25/10

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports, “For about three weeks, odors of hydrogen sulfide have grown worse, plaguing neighbors and causing health problems. For more than five years, the neighbors have dealt with these odors, which cause nausea, headaches, watery eyes and sinus infections, among other ailments.”

The same article reports that the city councilor representing the ward containing the landfill says the odor is getting worse and he wonders why the state has yet to take action to solve the problem, which has been identified. The article quotes the councilor: "Here we are, three or four weeks later and they're not addressing [the problem] and that's a concern. I can't even imagine what some of these residents are going through right now. It's absolutely ridiculous."

The article also quotes a spokesperson for the Mass Department of Environmental Protection: "We're unhappy that this is happening; obviously we want to do what we can to find these types of breakouts. … Unfortunately, the owner is denying that there is a problem at this point."

1/25/10

Newburyport city councilor representing the ward containing the landfill tells the other city council members that the council must help him become more proactive in protecting neighbors of the landfill and should discuss hiring an environmental lawyer t help them do so.

1/23/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records hydrogen sulfide level of 57 parts per billion at 7:55 pm.

1/21/10

Hydrogen sulfide level of 17 parts per billion (ppb) is measured on Charmanski Dr. in neighborhood south of landfill. At 11 pm, the mayor reports by email to residents, “There are currently two techs on site trying to figure out where the blows are coming from, I will continue to monitor the situation and will call DEP in the AM.”

1/17/10

City councilor representing the Newburyport ward containing the landfill reports by email to landfill neighbors:

Mayor Holaday and myself have been in contact with the DEP this afternoon and have asked them to have a representative from NV inspect the flare tonight. We have also let DEP know that we are very concerned with the recent odors and flare malfunctions over the last few weeks. The mayor has asked DEP to give the city an assessment of what the problems are and how they will be addressed. I will get out any other info when I get it from Mayor Holaday or the DEP.

1/16/10

Hydrogen sulfide monitoring station maintained by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection on Charmanski Dr. in a residential neighborhood records hydrogen sulfide level of 63 parts per billion at 6:49 pm.

1/15/10

News article in The Newburyport Current reports that the Newburyport mayor is setting up a meeting with the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to address continuing issues at the Crow Lane landfill. The article states the mayor is concerned because “portions of the landfill were left uncovered, which is allowing hydrogen sulfide breakouts to continue to plague landfill neighbors.”

The same article reports that city officials have not yet seen the final design plan for the landfill berm enclosing the “massive pile of debris” in the landfill, and that neighbors “doubt the stability of that berm and fear it could collapse long after New Ventures has capped and closed the area.”

1/15/10

Item on Port Reporter Unlimited, a Newburyport web log, reports that an explosion occurred at the Crow Lane landfill on 1/14/10. The writer comments, “this is really - I was going to say ‘getting out of control’ but it has been out of control for some time.”

1/8/10

News article in The Newburyport Current reports that about April 30, 2009, the landfill owner “made new promises to minimize odors and respond to complaints from the neighborhood. But the odors never have stopped. And on New Year’s Eve [December 31, 2009], it wasn’t anyone from New Ventures out looking for a suspected hydrogen sulfide outbreak that was causing the fresh wave of miserable smells; it was [Newburyport] City Councilor Brian Derrivan. He eventually found the source of the gas leak and had New Ventures staff come and cover the spot with dirt.”

1/5/10

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the new mayor, sworn in yesterday, said the capping of the Crow Lane landfill will be "a high priority for my administration.”

12/17/09

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports, “Odor outbreaks continue to plague the neighborhood surrounding the Crow Lane landfill.” According to the article, the landfill capping continues toward completion, “but the process continues to cause odor problems due to the overwhelming presence of hydrogen sulfide in the air, causing neighbors to battle health issues, including headaches, sinus problems, nausea and itchy, watery eyes.”

12/11/09

Press release from the Mass. Executive Office of Environmental Affairs announces that the governor “will seek greater authority for MassDEP to intervene in problem landfills, such as the one on Crow Lane in Newburyport.”

11/18/09

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the landfill owner has filed a response to the lawsuit brought by residents on Oct. 20, 2009.

11/9/09

Newburyport city council votes unanimously for a resolution asking the Mass. Attorney General’s Office to more aggressively pursue contempt actions and further legal action to protect city residents from the effects of the landfill capping process.

11/5/09

At a public meeting in Newburyport City Hall, Mass. DEP officials tell the Newburyport city council that the landfill cover will be completely in place by the end of November, 2009, and that this will halt the hydrogen sulfide odors now emanating from the landfill. The officials also state that the landfill capping will be completed by the end of May, 2010, and that a post-closure plan will be filed by the middle of June, 2010. The officials also state that the post closure plan will be provided to the city for public review and response. The officials also assure the council and the public that exposing the plastic covering to sunlight over the winter will not degrade the material.

10/23/09

News article in The Newburyport Current reports, “Odors have been terrible in and around the neighborhood of the Crow Lane landfill for the last two weeks – even worse than usual – and neighbors have suffered a rash of the same health problems they’ve endured for years.”

The article continues, “those issues could signal the end of the landfill-capping project.” The Newburyport city councilor for the ward containing the landfill states in the article, “by the end of this week, they should be done covering this landfill.”

The article also points out “uncertainty about the berm that supports the enormous pile of construction waste.” It says:

The state DEP has identified several problems with the design and content of the berm, and this week, as neighbors were holding  their noses, there was growing concern about the potential for landfill collapse.

10/20/09

Lawyer for about 85 Newburyport residents files a lawsuit in Essex Superior Court asking compensation by the landfill owner for years of problems that have prevented the residents from enjoying their property.

10/15/09

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports, “Workers yesterday started laying down one of two liners that will cover the Crow Lane landfill within a few weeks.” The article says, “The liners are to help eliminate the odors from the landfill that have plagued the Crow Lane neighborhood for years.” It continues, “This week in particular, the odors at the site have been rampant, as trenches were opened during the capping process, allowing odors to once again escape into the air.”

The Newburyport mayor is quoted as saying, “Today, the odors are pretty bad out there. … It is not pleasant out there today at all.”

According to the article, the Newburyport mayor thinks placement of the liners “means the odors will be eliminated one month early. That is an excellent thing.” He added, “The reality is, it’s working toward the end.”

10/15/09

In an email to residents near the landfill, the Newburyport Health Director states:

The final grading and shaping should be completed next week and final FML cover in place by the end of October. The remainder of the berm and final vegetative cover will most likely be completed in the spring. I anticipate work on the berm will be on going during the winter. A final approval is still pending for the berm design from DEP.

I know this has been a long road but I believe the end is in sight and the odors should be eliminated once the FML is completed.

9/8/09

City councilor representing the Newburyport ward containing the landfill reports by email:

I just got news that starting next Monday [9/14/09] NV will begin to install the FML [impermeable fabric sealing the top surface of the landfill] to the remainder of the landfill. There have been questions raised about when NV will finish bringing in C&D [construction and demolition debris]. The thinking was that the final trucks would finish sometime late in July. I would estimate that there are fewer than 100 trucks to fill the haul road but with NV only bringing in 7 to 10 trucks per day the time line keeps getting pushed back. NV has not been generating C&D in Everett because of the construction downturn but I have been told that things should pick up next week.

9/4/09

News article in The Newburyport Current reports that problems still plague the landfill “despite a slew of promises from local and state officials.” The report continues, “[During a meeting with residents on July 24] DEP officials offered landfill neighbors their sympathy and assured them that controls for the project were in place… For the growing number of people affected by the landfill project, things only got worse.” Describing a resident’s expression of thanks for one recent day when no odors were reported, the article says, “It was a short-lived reprieve, and odors and health complaints are now part of the morning trip to school for some Newburyport students.”

9/4/09

News article in The Newburyport Current reports about the constantly shifting timeline for ending the dumping of construction debris at the Crow Lane landfill. It describes a July 1 email from the city councilor representing the ward containing the landfill and estimating that dumping construction debris would cease in 2 to 3 weeks. On July 24, the DEP changed the estimate to 2 to 3 weeks from July 24. On August 24, an email from a city councilor who had investigated the schedule stated that an additional 1 to 2 weeks would be needed.

8/17/09

Responding to an inquiry by an officer of the Parker River Clean Water Association, the Mass. DEP Chief of the Solid Waste Management Section of the Northeast Region states via email that the landfill stormwater management design is adequate for dealing with a 100-year storm event.

8/10/09

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that Newburyport mayor regrets not issuing the order reopening Crow Lane landfill sooner. The 4/30/09 order was a necessary step for allowing an additional 70,000 cubic yards of demolition debris to be dumped at the site by the landfill owner and was opposed by a majority of the city council and people living in neighborhoods around the landfill. In the article, the mayor says, "My biggest mistake is having waited for this long to do it."

The same article notes, "As the closure continues toward a fall deadline, odors are once again surfacing and causing health problems and nuisances for the neighborhood."

8/5/09

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports, “Odors coming from the Crow Lane landfill are only getting worse as the state works to get a contract in place to perform air-quality testing. … The stench is still affecting those who have been dealing with it for five years.”

The same article states that the Newburyport mayor has decided “not to impose the $1,000/day fine against [the landfill owner], as it could set the city up for another legal battle.” The fines could be imposed under a noisome trade law site assignment issued by the Newburyport Health Department on 1/6/06. Before asking the Newburyport Health Director to issue an administrative order reopening the landfill on 3/25/09 in violation of community host agreement requirements for city council approval, the Newburyport mayor had stated that the noisome trade site assignment would protect the residents from activities that produce noxious fumes.

7/24/09

Mass. DEP notifies landfill owner that the geotechnical investigations (berm borings and analysis) required by the April 30, 2009, final judgment indicate that a modification of the proposed mechanically stabilized earth (MSE) berm supporting the landfill is required. The investigation revealed organic materials found in the northwest portion of the existing berm, thin and loamy soils on the surface at the foot of the existing berm, and evidence that settlement could affect the stability of the proposed MSE wall above the earthen berm.

The DEP requests that the modified design be a full design for the entire MSE berm “supported by a complete geotechnical analysis that fully addresses all relevant physical conditions at the site.”

7/24/09

Editorial in The Daily News of Newburyport states:

Newburyporters should ... be skeptical of what they heard and what happened [during the governor’s 7/21/09 town hall meeting in Newburyport], and no issue resonates more in this regard than Newburyport's Crow Lane landfill. It was a year ago that city councilors and neighbors brought the landfill's many ugly issues directly to the governor's attention, at a Town Hall-style meeting in Amesbury. There were promises made and sympathetic gestures given.

A year later, the governor was unaware of what was going on at Crow Lane, which he readily admitted in an editorial board meeting with The Daily News. On the other side of town, his commissioner of environmental protection was walking over the landfill, again with promises and sympathetic gestures. When the governor was asked about the stench-plagued landfill at the town hall forum, he was able to turn to his commissioner for answers. It was an effective way to diffuse criticism, but no one should be lulled into thinking that Newburyport wasn't played a fool on that issue. This kind of high-level, hands-on concern should have been shown long ago. It was political show.

7/23/09

Landfill gas reaches the Turkey Hill Road area of Newburyport, about 2/3 of a mile west of the landfill, causing more than 10 complaints to police and city hall. Residents formerly unaware of the landfill hydrogen sulfide odor call the gas utility company and the Newburyport Sewer Department.

7/22/09

The city councilor representing the ward where the landfill is located states that the current odor complaints are caused by the landfill operator digging in the haul road on the landfill and that residents “should expect some odors.”

7/21/09

Mass. DEP officials visit the landfill and hold public meeting at Newburyport City Hall. They announce that, within a few days, a DEP-contracted engineer will be present at the landfill at least five days per week to monitor operations until such oversight “is no longer needed.” They also promise to perform hydrogen sulfide monitoring in more locations in neighborhoods around the landfill and to conduct a suite of air quality tests to identify the burning odor reported by many residents.

A DEP official states that a fire within the landfill caused by spontaneous combustion is unlikely because of the lack of oxygen in the landfill and the lack of any visible smoke.

The DEP officials project the landfill will be completely capped by the end of 2009, including the covering membrane and the berm structures. They say the landfill will be loamed and seeded in the spring of 2010.

The DEP officials report that the analysis of borings taken to assure the landfill berm is strong enough to support the wall structures to be built on the berm show that modifications must be made to the design of the landfill because of clay found under the berm. The officials say the redesign and changes to the plan will not affect the closing dates they have predicted.

When asked about the landfill materials currently on city property on Crow Lane, the Newburyport mayor states that many contractors place their materials on city property during construction and he has a letter from the landfill owner promising to remove those materials from city property before the landfill is closed.

7/16/09

News article in on-line edition of The Newburyport Current reports that the landfill odors “are so noxious” that a city councilor for the ward in which the landfill is located asked the mayor to request that the state DEP shut down the landfill-capping project on July 10.

The news article said the mayor did not say “no” to the request, but nothing has changed since then. The mayor did not respond to telephone calls from The Newburyport Current reporter seeking comment about the request from the councilor.

“I wouldn’t say things have improved either,” the councilor said on July 15, according to the article. “They’re working on it, but it doesn’t seem to be working [reducing the odors] at this point.”

7/15/09

Eleven email and telephone odor complaints were recorded by the email chain among city residents and officials.

7/13/09

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that one city councilor characterizes the mayor’s 7/2/09 answers to the council’s 6/29/09 list of questions as “general information that we were already aware of” and that the answers “lacked specifics.”

The councilor stated that “the residents are being subjected to the hydrogen sulfide” and that “we have problems with the closure protocol.” The councilor explained, “What the council is looking for is a detailed protocol for exactly the situation we’re in now.... when the neighbors are being subjected to health impacts by the closure. What’s the recourse? I still don’t understand what’s supposed to happen because right now nothing is happening.” The report said the councilor was referring to reports from residents that the odors from the landfill “have once again caused health impacts, including burning eyes, congestion and sleeplessness, among other issues.”

A second councilor interviewed for the story said a new odor had emerged. “’It’s not hydrogen sulfide from what I understand,’ she said, referring to reports from the mayor and neighbors.”

7/10/09

News article in The Newburyport Current reports that odor from the Crow Lane landfill ruined the July 4 holiday for many residents. The article states, “it was a day filled with calling in odor complaints to the landfill owner...  For neighbors, it’s the same-old, same-old and what they are coming to expect on a holiday weekend.”

According to the article, residents had also noted discrepancies between the hydrogen sulfide readings shown on a meter in the neighborhood and the hydrogen sulfide readings reported by the landfill owner to the DEP. Because of the discrepancies, residents asked the Newburyport director of public health to investigate, but the director was out of the office for the week.

The article quotes the mayor as stating that complaints could be due to the gas collection system at the landfill, which “maybe needs some tweaking.”

7/2/09

Newburyport mayor replies to city council with answers to several of the questions asked by the city council on 6/22/09. Several other questions are not answered and deferred to the city’s lawyer.

6/29/09

Odor complaints submitted by residents, along with report of eight to ten trucks lined up on Crow Lane in apparent violation of operating rules.

6/22/09

Newburyport City Council requests explanation of landfill operating rules and project status from mayor.

6/20/09

Hydrogen sulfide level of 6 parts per billion recorded in residential area near landfill.

5/11/09

Independent lawyer hired by the city council reports that the host community agreement remains valid and enforceable in spite of the administrative order issued by the Health Department on 3/25/09. The council receives the lawyer’s report and councilors state they will meet to discuss options in the near future.

5/2/09

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that residents doubt terms of the new agreement between the landfill company and the Mass. DEP will be observed for long.

5/1/09

Trucking of demolition waste into landfill resumes.

4/30/09

Final judgment issued by Suffolk Superior Court Agreement signed by landfill owner and the Superior Court judge setting conditions to permit trucking of additional demolition waste into landfill to resume immediately. Judgment requires test borings to verify stability of landfill berm foundation to be completed within 15 days and waives several fines if deadlines for closure activities in the judgment are met.

4/23/09

The day before the start of the trial for its complaint filed on 11/14/08, the Mass. attorney general withdraws its complaint without explanation. The complaint had stated that the landfill owner was ignoring the 2006 preliminary injunction requiring it to control leachate breakouts, respond to odor complaints and properly operate the gas collection and treatment system at the landfill.

4/13/09

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the Newburyport mayor is limiting the city council to $5,000 in legal fees for the purpose of examining the legality of his actions to override the council’s ability to limit landfill volume specified in the 2002 host community agreement.

3/30/09

Newburyport city council votes to hire an independent lawyer to review the mayor’s action to override the council’s power to limit volume trucked into the landfill by entering into another agreement with the landfill owner and the Newburyport Health Department issuing an administrative order directing the immediate closure of the landfill.

3/27/09

Editorial in the Newburyport Current states that the mayor’s agreement with the landfill owner is “not only troubling, it’s humiliating.”

3/25/09

Newburyport Health Director issues an administrative order directing the landfill owner to “immediately undertake closure of the landfill.”

3/23/09

Newburyport mayor signs agreement with landfill owner. The agreement contains states that, after the landfill capping is complete, the landfill owner will sign an agreement not to sue the city for allegedly dumping sewer sludge in the landfill. The agreement also prevents the city from halting the capping process unless it can show "an imminent threat to health and safety." The agreement further requires several days of negotiations before the owner can be forced to correct any conditions or behavior to which the city objects.

3/23/09

Editorial in The Daily News of Newburyport states that the Newburyport mayor is “steaming ahead with an administrative order.” The editorial asks “why the rush?” and suggests that the state’s willingness to continue the legal battle against the landfill owner ought to be given a chance.

2/25/09

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the Newburyport mayor is waiting “for more information from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and the state’s attorney general’s office before deciding whether to proceed with filing an administrative order.” The order would allow more materials into the landfill without obtaining the city council approval required by the host community agreement between the city and the landfill owner.

2/25/09

News article in The Everett Independent reports that an Everett alderman attempted to hold the Everett mayor accountable for his comments that the piles of construction debris causing odor problems and Everett would be moved to Newburyport soon. According to the article, the Everett mayor conceded that he should not have spoken publicly about his discussions with the Newburyport mayor about moving the Everett debris to the landfill in Newburyport.

2/23/09

Newburyport mayor, city lawyer and director of public health meet with Mass. DEP and attorney general’s office officials to discuss the use of an administrative order to allow more materials into the landfill without obtaining city council approval.

2/17/09

The lawyer for the City of Newburyport responds to the landfill owner’s 1/7/09 letter demanding reimbursement for landfill closure costs under Mass. General Law 21E. The city’s letter states that the landfill owner failed to provide adequate evidence that the city is liable for such costs;

2/7/09

Item in Port Reporter Unlimited (a Newburyport web log) reports the Newburyport mayor announced at a meeting on 2/5/09 that he is awaiting an agreement from the landfill owner for the city to review. If that agreement is satisfactory to the mayor, he will ask the board of health to issue an administrative order allowing the landfill owner to dump additional construction debris at the landfill.

According to the mayor, the board of health order will supersede the current limit on volume imposed by the community host agreement between the city and the landfill owner, effectively nullifying that limit unless the city council takes legal action against the mayor.

1/28/09

In an email to several citizens, the Newburyport mayor explains that the 1/26/09 statement by the Everett mayor about a Newburyport board of health order to resume trucking from Everett to Crow Lane was based on “an acute misunderstanding.” He also said he is considering taking action by using such an order and is meeting with city councilors to discuss that option.

1/26/09

Everett mayor informs the Everett board of aldermen that the Newburyport mayor is in the process of obtaining an order from the Newburyport board of health to reopen the landfill and accept the construction debris causing odor problems in Everett. According to the Everett mayor, the Newburyport mayor said the order by the Newburyport board of health will not require approval by the Newburyport city council and any attempt by the city council to block with order will probably fail.

1/23/09

News article in The Newburyport Current reports that the Newburyport mayor and the Ward 5 city councilor went to the Crow Lane landfill Monday night “after a week of complaints from landfill neighbors about the stench.” It also reports that the Newburyport Health Director and a DEP official inspected the site on Tuesday and that the DEP official will inform the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office about conditions there. The Ward 5 city councilor expressed disappointment with the DEP and Attorney General, saying, “They haven’t done their jobs.”

1/14/09

Newburyport mayor sends a memo the city council stating that he “cannot embrace” the concept of taking action on the landfill via the eminent domain process. He states that he wants to meet with each city councilor to “discuss our options on this very important issue.”

1/12/09

Newburyport mayor informs the city council that he received the demand letter from the landfill owner “regarding 21E issues.” He says the letter demands the city pay 90 percent of the cost of capping the landfill.

1/7/09

Landfill owner’s lawyer sends letter to City of Newburyport demanding that the city reimburse the landfill owner for 90 percent of all costs incurred to date and to contribute 90 percent of all ongoing costs for future response actions to prevent hazardous materials from escaping from the landfill into the environment.

1/9/09

News article in The Newburyport Current reports that Suffolk Superior Court denied the Mass. Attorney General’s 11/26/08 request for an expedited trial for the complaint filed on 11/14/08.

12/12/08

Editorial in The Daily News of Newburyport states, “[Newburyport Mayor] Moak thinks the most realistic way to [cap the landfill] is to deal with the pirate-flag-flying management at New Ventures. And the City Council thinks New Ventures can't be fully trusted, based in large part on past experiences the city has had with the firm. Councilors seem to think the state should be playing a bigger role in this.” The editorial ends with, “We're playing hardball, and the message needs to be clear. This landfill needs to be capped correctly and quickly. And there will be zero tolerance for the kind of baloney New Ventures has been pulling for years.”

12/8/08

Newburyport mayor withdraws the proposed agreement between the city and the landfill owner from the city council agenda. One councilor says the agreement was highly unlikely to receive city council approval.

12/4/08

Newburyport mayor announces he is submitting an agreement between the city and the landfill owner to the city council for approval at the 12/8/08 council meeting. The only difference between the agreement being submitted on 12/8 and the agreement shown to the city council on 10/23/08 is that the 12/8 agreement calls for the landfill owner to perform air monitoring, water monitoring and grass mowing for the first year after closure.

12/2/08 (approx)

Newburyport director of public health meets with Everett city officials to explain how Newburyport had been able to succeed in taking action against the landfill owner.

12/2/08

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the city councilor representing the city ward where the landfill is located has asked the mayor to stop negotiating with the landfill owner about hauling more construction debris into the landfill. The councilor says the agreement being proposed by the mayor “would not have the support of the council.” The report says the mayor has not yet decided whether to present the agreement to the city council for approval.

11/28/08

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection notifies the landfill owner’s lawyer that the DEP inspected the landfill on 11/26/08 and 11/27/08 and found 12 violations of the preliminary injunction of October 20, 2006 and amended on November 1, 2006, and February 22, 2007. These violations included failure to operate the gas collection system and staff the landfill 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, failure to repair and maintain the gas collection system, failure to consistently operate the pretreatment system to meet the required performance standards, failure to pump leachate from the collection tanks, failure to remove leachate from the abutting wetlands, failure to provide DEP with daily landfill gas sampling data, failure to submit weekly inspection reports, and failure to report and respond to odor complaints.

11/26/08

Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office files a request in Suffolk Superior Court to expedite the trial for the complaint filed on 11/14/08. The request asks for a trial date in January, 2009, instead of April, and states that “an expedited trial on the defendant’s flagrant contempt of this court’s order is necessary and appropriate to prevent ongoing harm to public health and the environment.” The request further states that the landfill owner is “causing damage to the environment which cannot wait five months to be addressed.”

11/21/08

Suffolk Superior Court judge schedules trial for Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office complaint against the landfill owner for April 23 and 24, 2009. According to a news article in The Daily News of Newburyport, the five-month delay is necessary because the judge in the case “does not have two consecutive days free in December.”

11/14/08

Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office files a complaint against the landfill owner in Suffolk Superior Court. The complaint states that the company is ignoring the 2006 preliminary injunction requiring it to control leachate breakouts, respond to odor complaints and properly operate the gas collection and treatment system at the landfill. A press release from the Attorney General’s Office states, “The complaint asks the court to direct New Ventures to take steps to control leachate (a foul smelling liquid that drains from the landfill), respond to odor complaints, and to operate the landfill gas control system to properly filter noxious hydrogen sulfide emissions which continue to threaten the health and safety of people living near the facility.” The press release also states that the landfill owner “has a long history of repeatedly failing to comply with the requirements set forth in the 2006 preliminary injunction, resulting in odor problems and landfill capping delays.” News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the landfill owner will be required to appear in court on November 21 to respond to the complaint.

11/3/08

Editorial in The Daily News of Newburyport praises Newburyport officials and citizens who attended the hearing in Everett on October 29, saying the landfill owner’s associates “have been telling Everett people half truths, if not outright lies, about the reason why that stinking pile is stuck in Everett. They blame it on Newburyport , but they conveniently fail to point out that New Ventures has broken the agreement it has with Newburyport again and again and again over the past five years.” The editorial further states that “Negotiations and attempts at reconciliation seem to go nowhere with Thibeault and his company,” and asks, “we have a company that is causing frequent physical malady to humans — including nausea, nosebleeds and headaches — and there's nothing to be done but ‘negotiate?’ ”

10/30/08

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that neighbors of the landfill consider the proposed agreement between the landfill owner and the city presented to the city council on 10/23/08 to be worse for the city than the one rejected by the council on 6/18/08. One resident said it appears to have been written by the landfill owner’s lawyer “with no consideration for the city whatsoever.” Another described it as “very very weak.” The mayor said he really likes the agreement, in part, because it gives the city the responsibility to make sure the landfill owner “fixes what needs to be fixed, without having to go to a middleman.”

10/29/08

Several Newburyport residents and two Newburyport city councilors attend a public hearing in Everett to discuss approvals for projects being proposed there by the landfill owner. Several Newburyport residents describe the history of dealing with the landfill owner in Newburyport . Some Everett officials have claimed that hydrogen sulfide odor complaints in Everett are being caused by Newburyport officials’ refusal to allow an increase in the amount of material the landfill owner can deposit at the landfill.

10/24/08

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports the details of the proposed agreement between the city and the landfill owner and that several city councilors have expressed concern about the agreement.

10/23/08

At a special meeting of the Newburyport city council, the mayor presents a draft agreement between the landfill owner and the City of Newburyport. Under the agreement, the landfill owner will not make any claims against the city under Mass. law 21E for materials deposited at the landfill if the city will allow a 70,000 cubic yard increase in the volume of the landfill over and above the 2002 agreement and to increase the number of truckloads delivered to the city from 35 per day to 70. The agreement also states that landfill owner’s promise not to make claims will cease to remain in effect if the city takes any action against the landfill owner that delays closure of the landfill unless the action is required because of an “imminent threat to public health and safety.” The mayor describes the proposal as “a good agreement” and asks the city council to consider it. The city council agrees to consider the proposal and to vote on it at a later meeting.

10/17/08

The Newburyport mayor emails members of the city council to inform them about a new draft agreement between the city and the landfill owner for allowing the landfill owner to start hauling more construction debris into the Crow Lane landfill. The mayor requests a special meeting of the city council on October 23 to discuss the agreement, but he does not include the agreement with his email message.

9/20/08

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that increasing hydrogen sulfide odor complaints from neighborhoods around the landfill have motivated the Newburyport mayor to ask the city’s lawyer to meet with the landfill owner for coming up with an agreement to allow more construction debris to be dumped at Crow Lane in exchange for closing the landfill.

9/15/08

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that “city officials will work to get some progress at the Crow Lane landfill.” The city councilor representing the area where the landfill is located said a meeting is being scheduled for the city council and others to discuss the situation. The article reports that the mayor said, “I think it’s time to have a little more public discussion on this. I’m actively trying to figure out a way to move ahead on this project.”

8/26/08

Mass. DEP notifies landfill owner’s lawyer that the landfill owner is in noncompliance with the preliminary injunction of October 2006. The notice lists 13 violations of the injunction, including unsatisfactory performance of the landfill gas treatment system, failure to operate the gas treatment system continuously, failure to pump leachate from the leachate collection tanks, failure to repair erosion damage, failure to report and respond to odor complaints, failure to submit inspection reports, and failure to man the site around the clock. The notice directs the landfill owner to “take such actions as are necessary to return to compliance with the Order.”

7/14/08

First hydrogen sulfide complaint in several weeks called into New Ventures from neighboring resident.

7/14/08

Suffolk Superior Court judge sets a schedule for arguing and deciding whether the secret settlement agreement between NV, the attorney general and the DEP should pre-empt the host agreement between the city and NV. The city attorney appears before the Newburyport city council and explains that the case will probably be decided in January, 2009, with several intermediate legal steps and requests for summary judgments to take place before then.

6/24/08

Mass. DEP, Mass. Attorney General and landfill owner’s lawyers appear in Suffolk Superior Court and tell the judge the necessary steps have been taken to include the City of Newburyport in negotiations taking place among the DEP, Attorney General and the landfill lawyers. The Attorney General informs the judge that a preliminary injunction is pending for the landfill owner’s property in Everett, MA. The judge sets a date of 7/14/08 for the city, NV, DEP and attorney general to come back for a status conference.

6/18/08

The Newburyport city council holds a special meeting to continue discussion about the proposed agreement with the landfill owner to allow more construction trash and truck traffic at the landfill. Council enters executive session for discussion with mayor and city lawyer. Council votes to reject the proposal presented by the mayor but asks the mayor to continue negotiations to obtain an agreement more beneficial to the city and residents.

6/7/08

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the mayor does not expect the city council to sign the proposed agreement drafted between him and the landfill owner. The city councilor for the ward where the landfill is located says the council will need more time to discuss the situation. He speculates, “If we were to vote now, ... it would not pass.”

6/5/08

Editorial in The Daily News of Newburyport urges city council to “stand firm against the landfill operator.” The editorial concludes, “It’s astounding that a company who has so mistreated the public can now find itself in a position of negotiation. That is not right. Newburyport knows who and what it is dealing with. There’s a clear track record to examine. The council should send a strong message to New Ventures.”

6/3/08

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that Newburyport citizens delivered this message clearly at the previous night’s meeting: “Do not bow to the requests of [the landfill owner] to bring in more trash to the site, but instead stand up and fight.”

6/2/08

Newburyport city council holds a public hearing to listen to the landfill owner’s lawyer and to receive public input about the landfill owner’s proposal to promise not to sue the city for costs of closing the landfill in exchange for permission to increase the volume of the landfill and to increase the daily truck traffic. Prior to the opening of the hearing, the council entered a closed session to discuss a draft agreement to that effect developed between the mayor and the landfill owner. Councilors were instructed not to divulge the contents of that agreement. The council did not hold a vote to accept or reject the agreement, but instead concluded they need time to consider the details of the draft agreement and a separate, secret agreement between the landfill owner and the Massachusetts DEP.

5/16/08

Newburyport director of public health announces that the landfill owner has fulfilled all requirements necessary for accepting asphalt grindings at the landfill and trucks will start delivering asphalt grindings to the landfill on Monday, 5/19/08.

4/28/08

Newburyport director of public health notifies landfill owner’s lawyer that the Newburyport Health Department will suspend its current order preventing soil, asphalt grindings and berm materials from being delivered to the site. The notice includes several conditions that must be met within 30 days of resuming import of these materials, and states that the order will be reinstated if any of the conditions is not met within the 30 days allowed. The notice does not suspend an earlier order prohibiting construction and demolition materials from being delivered to the landfill.

4/21/08

Mass. Assistant Attorney General announces in court that the Mass. DEP, Mass. Attorney General, and landfill owner have come to an agreement about correcting problems at the landfill and the Attorney General’s suit against the landfill owner started on 11/14/07 will be dismissed. Details of the agreement are not finalized and will not be released to the public or City of Newburyport officials until the agreement has been signed by the parties and approved by the court.

4/10/08

News article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that a Newburyport city councilor asked Governor Deval Patrick about the Crow Lane landfill during the governor’s visit to Newburyport the previous day. According to the article, “The governor said he wasn't familiar with the situation but said he would ‘relay the message to the team’ and get environmental officials working on the issue."

4/3/08

Landfill owner’s lawyer sends the Newburyport director of public health by fax a plan to resolve problems with leachate escape, to pump and inspect leachate collection system tanks properly, grade stockpiled soil to prevent landslides, place tarps over exposed areas of the landfill, maintain and operate the gas collection and treatment system, and properly implement all protocols as ordered by the Newburyport Health Dept. on 2/26/08.

4/3/08

Landfill ad hoc advisory committee presents a report to the Newburyport director of public health indicating that the landfill owner failed to submit the required landfill perimeter and landfill surface hydrogen sulfide measurements for 23 days during the month of March, 2008.

4/1/08

City of Newburyport dismisses its action in small claims court against the landfill owner filed approximately 2/29/08 for rent and damages to the recycling barn on Crow Lane because payment was received from the landfill owner’s lawyer.

3/28/08

Landfill owner’s lawyer meets with the Newburyport mayor and director of public health and promises to submit a plan to resolve problems with leachate escape, to pump and inspect leachate collection system tanks properly, grade stockpiled soil to prevent landslides, place tarps over exposed areas of the landfill, maintain and operate the gas collection and treatment system, and properly implement all protocols as ordered by the Newburyport Health Dept. on 2/26/08.

3/25/08

Editorial in The Daily News of Newburyport urges the state to take over the landfill and to prosecute the landfill owner if he deliberately turned off the gas collection system the previous week.

3/22/08

Newburyport director of public health visits the Crow Lane landfill, finds it unattended in violation of the Mass. DEP preliminary injunction, and notifies Mass DEP that the landfill is unattended.

3/22/08

Members of the mayor’s ad hoc landfill advisory committee update the city council about the landfill status.

3/20/08

Landfill owner and his lawyer fail to appear for a hearing to be held by the Newburyport Board of Health at the request of the landfill owner and his lawyer to appeal the order issued by the Newburyport Health Dept. on 2/26/08. Board of Health agrees to postpone the hearing.

3/20/08

Mass. DEP notifies the landfill owner that Mass. DEP is taking further steps to access the bond posted by the landfill owner. DEP will use the funds, if acquired, to operate the gas extraction and treatment system at the landfill.

3/19/08

Landfill gas collection and treatment system returned to operation.

3/19/08

City’s lawyer receives notice from landfill owner’s lawyer that the landfill owner intends to sue the city for costs of closing the landfill under Mass law 21E unless the city settles its recent cease and desist order. The letter requests a meeting with the city’s lawyer for discussion.

3/18/08

Newburyport director of public health notices that the landfill gas collection and treatment system has been deliberately turned off and the landfill is unattended in direct violation of the DEP preliminary injunction and other requirements. Director immediately notifies Mass. DEP about the condition. Mass. DEP notifies landfill owner’s lawyer that the landfill must be staffed and the gas collection and treatment system must be turned back on immediately.

3/14/08

Newburyport Board of Health issues a cease and desist order for failure of the landfill owner to comply with the board’s 2/26/08 order.

2/29/08 (approx)

Newburyport Health Dept. files a claim in small claims court for $2,000 to recover the rent due to city for September and October, 2007, use of the recycling barn on Crow Lane by the landfill owner and for repairing damage to the property.

2/26/08

Newburyport Health Dept. orders landfill owner to submit a plan within 7 days to resolve problems with leachate escape, to pump and inspect leachate collection system tanks properly, grade stockpiled soil to prevent landslides, place tarps over exposed areas of the landfill, maintain and operate the gas collection and treatment system, and properly implement all protocols. The plan must also provide materials management plan for soil being stockpiled. The order also requires that corrections be implemented by March 14, 2008.

2/7/08

Newburyport Board of Health issues a notice of violations to landfill owner and levies fines for nuisance odors and protocol violations in December, 2007, and January, 2008.

1/29/08

Newburyport director of public health sends reminder to landfill owner that plan to resolve issues listed in 11/29/07 letter is due.

1/25/08

Article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that superior court granted a summary judgment the previous week confirming that the Newburyport board of health has authority to determine whether the Crow Lane landfill is a health risk or nuisance. The landfill owner had contended that the board had no such authority.

1/10/08

Newburyport mayor and director of public health meet with landfill owner to discuss and resolve issues in 11/29/07 letter. Landfill owner promises to submit plan for issue resolution in about 3 weeks.

12/4/07

Mass. DEP authorizes landfill owner to accept crushed concrete, asphalt grindings and soil at the Crow Lane landfill. The authorization notice states that the landfill owner does so “at its own risk because the design of the berm has not yet been approved.” The soil includes soil from the Winning Farm dump in Woburn and Winchester.

11/29/07

Newburyport mayor notifies landfill owner about damage to Crow Lane recycling barn (city property) being rented by landfill owner and about the landfill owner’s failure to pay rent for September and October, 2007.

11/29/07

Newburyport director of public health reminds the landfill owner in writing that all requirements of the 7/26/07 preliminary injunction must be fulfilled before the Newburyport Health Department will allow full operations to resume at the landfill.

11/29/07

Newburyport mayor notifies landfill owner that several community host agreement issues must be resolved before the owner will be allowed to resume full operations:

·         Payments due City of Newburyport from landfill owner

·         Repair of Crow Lane road surface

·         Encroachment of landfill materials onto Crow Lane

·         Removal of barrier placed across Crow Lane by landfill owner

·         Approval by Newburyport City Council of increased landfill volume

·         Approval by local boards for culvert proposed for installation across Crow Lane

11/14/07

Mass. Attorney General vs. landfill owner trial begins in Boston. Several Newburyport residents and city officials called to testify.

10/16/07

Mass. DEP issues a BUD (beneficial use determination) for 47,000 tons of questionable materials at the Winning Farm dump in Woburn and Winchester. Newburyport’s Crow Lane landfill is cited as one of the disposal sites for the material.

10/15/07
(approx)

Court rules that Newburyport Board of Health has power to issue a cease and desist order and a noisome trade site assignment.

10/4/07

City of Newburyport landfill attendant submits a list of about 60 protocol and injunction violations observed between 8/13/07 and 10/14/07.

9/20/07

Landfill owner’s lawyer notifies Newburyport director of public health that he will not attend today’s scheduled Board of Health hearing for appealing the 6/29/07 cease and desist order.

9/20/07

Suffolk Superior Court orders landfill owner to place a temporary clay cap on one area of the landfill to control infiltration of water and escape of hydrogen sulfide gas.

9/20/07

Mass. DEP obtains court order granting access to the landfill site for conducting response actions.

8/30/07

Neither landfill owner nor his lawyer attend a Newburyport Board of Health hearing they had requested for appealing the Health Department’s 6/29/07 cease and desist order. Board postpones hearing until 9/20/07.

8/16/07

Editorial in The Daily News of Newburyport characterizes the landfill owner’s claim that the city should pay for 95% of the closing costs as “nonsense” and an attempt to distract attention from the real cause of problems. The editorial says, “The DEP should step in and put an end to this nonsense immediately. ...  The DEP assured the city last year that the agreement with New Ventures was enforceable. It must make good on that assurance.”

8/8/07

Newburyport mayor receives notice from landfill owner’s lawyer claiming that the city should pay 95% of the landfill closing costs because the landfill contains some municipal waste.

8/2/07

Newburyport director of public health formally notifies landfill owner that he is not in compliance with the superior court preliminary injunction issued on 7/26/07 and that, as a result, the cease and desist order issued by the Newburyport Health Dept. on 6/29/07 is still in effect. Remaining issues include lack of monitoring equipment available to city personnel, breaks in the landfill cover, high hydrogen sulfide levels, lack of leachate pumping and disposal documentation, lack of access to leachate tanks for determining levels, and lack of documentation to show good faith effort to properly weld the landfill cover.

8/1/07

Mass. DEP files complaint in Superior Court to gain permission to access landfill for remedial action.

7/26/07

Newburyport conservation commission agent receives report from engineering consultant on the stormwater management plan in the landfill amended corrective action design of 3/17/06. The report concludes the stormwater management system proposed does not meet DEP policy requirements, that the post-development discharge rates exceed the pre-development discharge for the 2-year storm event, that vernal pool inflows will be disrupted by the landfill, and that the plan lacks a revised operation and maintenance plan.

7/26/07

Superior Court issues preliminary injunction ordering landfill owner to seal the plastic landfill cover, install a hydrogen sulfide (Jerome) meter in the southwest corner of the landfill, place clay on the Phase I area of the landfill, and hire a contractor to weld the plastic landfill cover.

7/19/07

At a Newburyport Board of Health hearing, the landfill owner’s lawyer claims odors from the landfill are caused by the Mass. DEP’s cease and desist order and the lack of available soil.

7/16/07

Newburyport mayor submits citizen comments on 6/4/07 perimeter berm design revisions to DEP for the record. Comments point out lack of credible data to assure that the perimeter berm will not collapse after the landfill has been closed.

7/11/07

Newburyport board of health files a complaint in superior court and requests the court to order the landfill owner “to take immediate action to abate the public health nuisance resulting from the emission of hydrogen sulfide gas at the Landfill.”

7/10/07

Mass. DEP denies landfill owner’s request for more time to respond to the DEP 7/2/07 notice.

7/4/07

Mass. DEP notifies landfill owner’s lawyer that the owner is not in compliance with the 10/20/06 preliminary injunction for several reasons, including failure to mix demolition debris with soil properly, insufficient geotechnical evaluation of the perimeter berm design, improper operation of the gas treatment system, failure to install gas collection piping and plastic sheeting in certain areas of the landfill, and failure to take measures for controlling and managing contaminated surface water at the landfill.

7/4/07

Article in The Daily News of Newburyport quotes local state representative as believing the state is on a path for taking over the landfill.

7/2/07

Mass. DEP sends landfill owner a default notice stating that the owner has not conducted closure and corrective action activities required by earlier DEP notices and regulations.

6/29/07

Newburyport Board of Health issues a cease and desist order and levies fines for nuisance odors, lack of effective odor controls, failure to provide agreed-upon air monitoring equipment for city personnel to use, improper pumping and disposal of leachate, failure to mix soil with demolition debris properly, and failure to weigh trucks properly.

6/7/07

City of Newburyport landfill attendant submits a list of 21 violations of the 4/12/07 administrative order issued by the Mass. DEP. Violations include lack of litter control, lack of alarms on leachate collection tanks, poorly installed gas collection piping, lack of a plan to show locations of installed piping, contamination of the vernal pool across Crow Lane from the landfill, failure of the landfill owner to install a hydrogen sulfide meter in the southwest corner of the landfill, and “deplorable” conditions inside the city building being rented by the landfill owner.

6/5/07

Newburyport mayor, other city officials, the state representative, the state senator, and members of the mayor’s ad-hoc landfill advisory committee meet with the Mass. Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs in Boston to recommend a state-takeover of the landfill closure because of the troublesome performance and attitude of the landfill owner that is subjecting residents to chemical exposure, delaying completion and depleting city resources. Request is politely accepted but no action is taken.

4/17/07

Article in The Daily News of Newburyport announces that the Mass. DEP has fined the landfill owner $14,800 for violating the preliminary injunction.

4/12/07

Mass. DEP notifies landfill owner that it is not in compliance with the 10/20/06 preliminary injunction and its 11/1/06 and 2/22/07 amendments in about 12 areas. DEP issues notice to assess penalties for lack of compliance.

3/7/07

Mass. DEP issues notice of deficiency to landfill owner for inadequate geotechnical evaluation of the perimeter berm design.

3/2/07

Article in the Newburyport Current reports that some city officials fear that the landfill perimeter berm could collapse, allowing noxious gas to escape and contaminating surrounding wetlands.

2/22/07

Mass. DEP and landfill owner agree on and file another amendment to the preliminary injunction of 10/20/06.

2/22/07

Mass. DEP and Newburyport Health Dept. grant landfill owner permission to resume trucking demolition debris into the landfill.

2/14/07

Editorial in The Daily News of Newburyport calls for the state to take over the landfill.

2/12/07

Article in The Daily News of Newburyport announces that the Newburyport Board of Health has shut down the landfill operation for lack of a $20,000 payment due the city.

11/16/06

Mass. Attorney General notifies landfill owner about six additional issues and actions the owner must take to comply with the preliminary injunction.

11/15/06

Editorial in The Daily News of Newburyport calls for the state to take over the landfill.

11/1/06

Mass. DEP and landfill owner agree on and file amended preliminary injunction.

10/20/06

Mass. Attorney General obtains a preliminary injunction to control capping and closing of the landfill. The injunction contains more than 25 pages of requirements, protocols and deadlines.

A press release from the Attorney General’s office states:

Attorney General Tom Reilly today obtained a preliminary injunction against the operator of the Crow Lane landfill in Newburyport. AG Reilly filed a lawsuit in February [2/23/06] against the operators who ignored enforcement orders by Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the City of Newburyport. The operator's actions have resulted in the release of hydrogen sulfide gas from the landfill in violation of Commonwealth's solid waste and air pollution laws.

10/8/06

Boston Herald article describes effect of hydrogen sulfide on neighbors of the landfill owner’s facility in Everett, MA.

9/28/06

City officials meet with Mass. DEP and Mass. Environmental Affairs Secretary to voice concerns about the state’s plan to use a preliminary injunction instead of taking over the landfill. State officials insist the preliminary injunction is the only practical solution.

9/15/06 (approx)

Newburyport city council sends a letter to the Mass. Environmental Affairs Secretary rejecting the proposal for a preliminary injunction and requesting a meeting to discuss a “more sensible” solution.

9/14/06

Officials of the Mass. DEP and Attorney General’s office meet with Newburyport officials and the public in Newburyport City Hall to announce they will not take over the landfill and instead will enter into a preliminary injunction to assure prompt and proper closure of the landfill by the owner. Decision is met with vocal disagreement and skepticism by city officials and the public in attendance. (Video available.)

9/14/06

Article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that Mass DEP and Attorney General’s office will use a preliminary injunction to control capping and closure of the landfill and will not take over the operation. The article also reports that city officials are considering legal action to prevent the state from taking the proposed action.

9/5/06 (approx)

Mass. DEP report concludes that emissions from the Crow Lane landfill could be causing the symptoms being reported by Newburyport residents.

8/10/06

Article in The Boston Globe announces that Newburyport city officials have asked the state to take over the Crow Lane landfill.

7/15/06

Federal EPA fines landfill owner’s Everett company $157,000 for illegally discharging stormwater into a river.

7/12/06

Mass. DEP approves use of clay excavated for the Dorchester Bay Tunnel project for use as covering material at the Crow Lane landfill.

5/10/06

Engineering firm hired by City of Newburyport to review the 3/17/06 corrective action design reports that “the 570,576 cubic yards specified solely  for shaping and grading materials exceeds the agree to volume of approximately 460,000 cubic yards under the Community Host Agreement with Newburyport and as approved by Mass. DEP under the 2003 Conceptual Closure Plan.”

4/28/06

Landfill owner resumes full operation after complying with state environmental requirements and paying fines due to the City of Newburyport.

4/27/06

Landfill owner pays City of Newburyport $160,000 he owes and then immediately stops payment on the check.

2/23/06

Mass. Attorney General files suit against landfill owner in Suffolk Superior Court. Suit seeks court intervention to force the landfill owner to install a treatment system for controlling odors.

2/22/06

Editorial in The Daily News of Newburyport urges Mass. DEP to force landfill owner “to run its operation properly, or shut it down and find a contractor who can do it right.”

2/16/06

Hydrogen sulfide odor from the landfill disrupts surgery at the Anna Jaques Hospital.

1/26/06

Newburyport Board of Health holds a hearing to discuss conditions to impose on the landfill owner as requirements for resuming operations.

1/15/06

Newburyport Board of Health determines that landfill is a noisome trade under the Massachusetts statute and that Board has power to restrict its operation.

1/13/06

Mass. DEP Commissioner Golledge spends 3 hours in Newburyport visiting the Crow Lane landfill and talking with city officials and residents about problems at the landfill.

1/12/06

Landfill owner files suit against the Newburyport Board of Health. The suit asks the court to determine that the landfill is not a noisome trade as defined by Massachusetts law, that the owner can resume operation, that the Board of Health cannot issue a site assignment, and that the City of Newburyport pay damages for lost revenues due to the suspension of operation.

1/4/06

Newburyport Board of Health imposes strict requirements on the landfill.

12/27/05

Newburyport mayor writes to the governor asking for the state to intervene and “shut down once and for all the capping operations.” No response received as of 1/3/06, according to article in The Daily News of Newburyport.

12/13/05

Newburyport Health Department halts operations at the landfill because of persistent odors. This is third cease and desist order issued since March, 2005.

12/13/05

Newburyport Board of Health issues a cease and desist order under the Mass. noisome trade statute prohibiting construction demolition debris from being deposited at landfill. Landfill owner immediately seeks an injunction in Salem Superior Court and a hearing is scheduled for 1/19/06.

11/15/05 (approx)

Mass. DEP demands payment of penalty by landfill owner for non-compliance.

11/8/05

Newburyport director of public health sends letter to Mass. DEP requesting their intervention to address odor, leachate, trucking and landfill volume issues.

10/7/05

Members of the mayor’s ad-hoc landfill advisory committee and the director of public health visit the Crow Lane landfill. Report concerns about encroachment of landfill onto Crow Lane, junk cars still visible in the wetlands adjacent to the landfill, hydrogen sulfide and other odors noticed during the visit, and concerns about the perimeter berm apparently being supported in some locations by weak demolition debris.

9/10/05

Newburyport mayor forms an ad-hoc landfill advisory committee of citizens and officials for monitoring the landfill.

9/2/05

Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) receives a release abatement measure transmittal form indicating that 600 cubic yards of soil contaminated with oil and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and originating at the site of a Bently College athletic field in Waltham, MA, will be brought to the Crow Lane landfill in Newburyport for use as landfill cover.

8/29/05

Newburyport Conservation Commission appeals a superseding order of conditions issued for the landfill by the Mass. DEP on 8/15/05 and requests an adjudicatory hearing. The commission states that a superseding order of conditions should not be issued for this project until several issues are resolved. Without more information, the commission says, “the DEP can have no way of writing an SOC that will be adequate to protect the wetlands resource areas as required under the [Wetlands] Act.”

8/17/05

Article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports the City of Newburyport is considering the takeover of the landfill capping because of frustration with the owner’s handling of the project.

8/15/05 (approx)

Newburyport city council denies request from landfill owner for changes to the community host agreement.

8/11/05

Newburyport mayor informs the landfill owner that the city will take “swift action” if the owner violates its agreements. The mayor adds that the landfill owner must pay $25,000 in back taxes.

8/9/05

Newburyport mayor promises prompt resolution of the odor issues at the landfill.

6/21/05

Newburyport mayor informs the city council that the landfill owner has requested several modifications to the community host agreement and suggests that the request be discussed among the council, board of health, and the mayor.

5/11/05

Newburyport Health Department notifies landfill owner that, after conducting a hearing on 5/4/05, the Newburyport Board of Health has determined that a public health nuisance exists as a result of activities at the landfill. The board orders the landfill owner to take specific action to correct the problems and states that odor complaints “from this day forward” shall be subject to applicable Board of Health fines.”

5/5/05

Landfill owner continues receiving demolition materials at the landfill in defiance of cease and desist order issued by Newburyport Health Department on 5/4/05. Owner claims work continued because he received no written notice.

5/4/05

After a public hearing, Newburyport Health Department issues cease and desist order to halt receipt of materials at the landfill until an agreement is reached for ending odors.

4/15/05 (approx)

Newburyport Health Dept. issues violation notice stating landfill owner has not met odor control requirements.

4/12/05

Mass. DEP orders landfill owner to install a gas collection system at the landfill and gives the owner 30 days to start installation. Also orders landfill owner to pay $925,000 into a landfill trust account and to pay a $250,000 fine. All except $75,000 of the fine is suspended if the landfill owner complies with the DEP order.

2/22/05

Editorial in The Daily News of Newburyport states, “time for being polite has ended. If the city can’t get [the landfill owner’s] attention any other way, it should shut his operation down until he makes a credible commitment to run it in compliance with the agreement.”

10/19/04

Mass. DEP issues its first administrative order for odor control at the landfill site. The administrative order notes several violations of its 2/27/03 administrative consent order, including:

·         Allowing leaching liquid (leachate) to escape from the landfill

·         Leaving demolition debris exposed at the site

·         Failing to mix the demolition debris with soil at a ratio of 1:1

·         Mixing demolition materials with solid waste excavated from the site

·         Depositing urban fill containing brick and concrete at the site

·         Failing to perform weekly monitoring

The DEP administrative order requires the landfill owner to provide an odor control plan, a leachate control plan, a summary of daily amounts of material received at the site since commencement of the construction and closure activities.

8/6/04

Engineering firm hired by the City of Newburyport informs the landfill owner about recent complaints concerning truck traffic and other matters related to operations at the landfill.

4/6/04

Landfill owner and his engineer and lawyer present a landfill closure plan to the Newburyport Conservation Commission.

2/17/04

Engineering firm hired by the City of Newburyport reports that during a site visit on 1/21/04 several infractions of the community host agreement and other regulations were observed. These infractions included incorrect truck routes in and out of the city, missing shipping records and bills of lading as required by state law and the 1/30/03 administrative consent order, lack of a summary record of loads as required by Mass DEP, dumping of materials with up to 30 percent paper and plastic solid waste in violation of the administrative consent order, lack of a truck washing facility, and use of soil excavated from the landfill as part of the grading operations.

1/30/04

Article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that questionable materials were reportedly being dumped and buried at the landfill.

10/21/03

Mass. DEP formally approves the landfill owner’s conceptual landfill closure plan revised 2/25/03, but with several conditions.

10/8/03

Newburyport mayor signs an agreement for renting the former recycling barn on Crow Lane to the landfill owner “for locating its trucks and equipment while capping the Crow Lane landfill.”

8/1/03

Trucks begin hauling materials into the landfill.

5/9/03

Mass. DEP notifies landfill owner about several deficiencies in its conceptual grading plan.

5/7/03

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection acknowledges letter it received from the state senator representing the district that includes Newburyport. The letter from the senator requested that material coming into the site be kept to a minimum and requested an independent financial analysis of capping costs.

4/25/03

Article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that construction of the landfill berm is beginning.

2/27/03

Mass. DEP issues and administrative consent order outlining requirements and schedule for closing the landfill.

10/7/02

Host community agreement between the City of Newburyport and the landfill owner is signed and executed.

8/21/02

Article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that citizens will fight the landfill plan.

8/16/02

Article in The Daily News of Newburyport reports that the landfill owner wants to keep the landfill capping finances confidential.

3/31/02

Newburyport mayor announces he has hired a local attorney to “check up” on agreements and other issues related to the landfill capping process.

3/26/02

Newburyport mayor sends letter to Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection citing concerns about environmental impact, community impact and the post-closure plan for the landfill.

3/25/02

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection issues consent order and notice of noncompliance for the landfill.

3/23/02

Newburyport city council sends letter to Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection listing environmental, traffic and other concerns related to the landfill closure.

3/6/02

Landfill owner holds public information meeting at Newburyport City Hall to discuss truck trips per day, total volume to be brought in, completion schedule and profit levels. (Video available.)

1/30/02

Newburyport mayor discusses the capping process with the landfill owner. Mayor shown preliminary sketches and invited to visit the owner’s Everett facility and another landfill closed by the landfill owner.

9/26/01

Newburyport mayor announces that the landfill owner has expressed interest in seeking the permits required to cap the Crow Lane landfill.

9/28/00

A Newburyport resident near the landfill sends a list of concerns about the project to the Newburyport mayor in advance of a meeting planned for 10/4/00 to “discuss the plan for capping the old landfill.”

Concerns include the future steps for planning and approval, project duration, types and volumes of materials to be deposited at the site, traffic volume and routing, noise abatement plans, onsite supervision, required permits, and contacts at DEP for complaints about materials, traffic and non-adherence to requirements.

7/21/00

The Newburyport city councilor representing the city ward where the landfill is located writes to the Newburyport mayor and expresses concerns that plans for capping the landfill are moving forward without any public hearings by the Mass. Department of Environmental Protection or the city.

6/15/00 (approx.)

Landfill owner informs Newburyport mayor that he intends to cap the Crow Lane landfill with construction materials.