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Mass. landfill to pay settlement for allegedly damaging wetlands

By Mark Payne | Dec 11, 2014

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley | Massachusetts Attorney General's Office

Southbridge Recycling and Disposal Park landfill will pay approximately $220,000 in civil penalties over allegations that it damaged nearby wetlands, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced on Wednesday.

The landfill allegedly failed to maintain a stockpile, which generated a landslide in August 2013 that covered more than a half acre near a stream in Charlton with mud and silt.  

The sediment measured up to a foot deep in some places. 

“Wetland areas are very important environmental resources and must be safeguarded,” Coakley said. “Our office will hold accountable those who fail to comply with state laws and regulations designed to protect these valuable resources which benefit the environment in so many ways."

In addition to failing to maintain the stockpile, the company allegedly waited 10 days to report the erosion and stability issues with the stockpile, and did not tell the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) about the landslide. 

“Conventional erosion controls on large sites will often fail during adverse weather," MassDEP Commissioner David W. Cash said. "So developers must invest in comprehensive drainage and erosion controls at the onset of the project to prevent off-site discharges of silt and soils to wetlands and streams. If soils and silt are discharged to wetland resources, the cost of remediating the damage generally far outweighs the cost of preventing it.”

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