The firm chosen to cap the Attleboro Landfill, which is located in the city on Peckham Street near the Norton line, is willing to consider a new, "feasible" plan for doing the work. Delivering material to the landfill via rail rather than trucks, a plan favored by many local leaders, is not one of them, wrote EndCap Technology attorney Richard Nylen in a letter submitted Friday to the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The 20-page letter, which is attached to this article, includes responses to various comments on the project submitted last month by current and former elected leaders as well as residents and others. Nylen stresses in the letter that the controversial route trucks are proposed to take through Norton and Attleboro roads to reach the landfill was determined in 2009 by local government leaders, not the firm, and are "subject to revision by the communities."
"It is clear that the suggested truck route is unpopular but not one comment has suggested another feasible route (except some Norton comments that did not want any trucks in Norton)," Nylen wrote. "EndCap is willing to work with local residents on the route, timing and safety precautions such as a traffic monitor on the roadway."
EndCap has agreed to pay for the DEP-ordered capping of the landfill, a project the site's owner says he cannot afford to finish. To make the project financially worthwhile, the firm plans to deliver waste from clients that pay EndCap for the service. This waste would be used as fill at the site prior to the capping.
In the letter, Nylen reiterated his recent comments that making deliveries via rail was not feasible because it would raise the cost for EndCap's clients to an amount they would not pay. In addition, he wrote, it would extend the length of the project from four to 15 years.
He wrote that the picture some people have painted of a "continual flow all day long" of trucks making deliveries was not accurate. Nylen wrote about 38 trucks per day would make deliveries "five or six days per week" in three sessions starting at 8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., around 11 a.m. and around 2 p.m. Only DEP-approved material would be used, Nylen wrote, and it would not be "toxic." He objected to the use of the term "slightly contaminated material" that has appeared in documents about the project, writing it "overstates the product."
The proposed route has been criticized for various reasons, including allegations that the Attleboro roads cannot handle the frequent truck trips. Nylen defended the route as being "based upon public safety principles of avoiding turns against the traffic while in transit and to avoiding times while children are at bus stops." He also challenged statements that trucks were not allowed on Attleboro's Pike Avenue, one of the roads on the route. Nylen wrote that the firm's president drove last month on Pike, where he saw no posted signs that it was "a non-truck route" and was passed by two tractor trailers.
Several times in the document, Nylen notes the project is being privately funded. He wrote that Norton and Attleboro would be compensated with a "fair" fee for the use of the roads of 25 cents per ton of material delivered. He rejected Norton activist Heather Graf's demand for the firm to cover other costs, such as those for emergency services and legal advice. Nylen wrote doing this would increase the amount of material EndCap would need to deliver, "which is counter to her goal to reduce trucks."
Increased material would also need to be delivered if EndCap were to pay Taunton as the city has requested, Nylen wrote. Some portions of the route go through Taunton. Nylen wrote that EndCap had not offered compensation to the city because the firm does not believe Taunton would "be subject to similar potential impacts" as Norton and Attleboro.
Taunton has requested $1 per ton. Attleboro City Councilor Richard Conti has proposed his city's fee be increased to $2.52 per ton.
As to whether there is an urgency to complete this project, Nylen wrote there is none for health reasons, but there could be risks associated with a lengthy delay.
"The risk in not capping and closing the landfill is that the materials in the landfill will remain exposed to rainfall draining through the landfill and may reach into Attleboro and Norton groundwaters," he wrote.
Nylen added, "There is no dispute that capping and closing the landfill is more protective of the environment than leaving it in its present state. In the event that a decision is made not to cap the landfill at this time, the likelihood is that this would need to be a publicly funded landfill closure in the future based upon the continued corporate existence of [landfill owner] ALI Inc."