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Subject: Re: PR News Wire Article Date: 12/13/2000 1:52 PM
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Rutland Herald
: Casella fighting order to end landfill leakage

: December 3, 2000

: By JOHN DILLON

: Staff Writer

: The orange-tinted, foul-smelling water seeps out of
: the ground and into
: the
: Wells River in eastern Vermont. The source of the
: pollution is no
: secret:
: An old landfill nearby has for years fouled the ground
: water, and now
: the
: tainted plume is bubbling up in surface springs.

: But state officials and the landfill's owner can't
: agree on how to fix
: the
: problem. The Agency of Natural Resources wants
: Vermont's largest trash
: company to install a new cap over the dump to prevent
: water from
: leaching
: through and causing more contamination. Casella Waste
: Management Inc.,
: which bought the Wells River landfill 12 years ago,
: says the cap is too
: expensive. The company prefers to let the pollution
: gradually diminish
: over
: time.

: Casella, which is based in Rutland, recently appealed
: a state order
: directing the company to cap the landfill to stem the
: pollution.

: "Our view is we ought to continue to monitor as we
: have over the last
: 10
: years," said John Ponsetto, the company's lawyer. "The
: benefits
: associated
: with this cap don't warrant the expense."

: The delays frustrate Alice Allen, a dairy farmer whose
: nearby property
: is
: contaminated by the old landfill. Allen over a year
: ago first noticed
: the
: orange leachate bubbling up on her land. She said she
: wants the state
: to
: enforce a 1994 court order that requires the company
: to stop the
: landfill
: from polluting the environment.

: "This has just been a struggle for us. It's documented
: the
: contamination is
: on our land and is coming out of the ground water. It
: was documented in
: the
: court case. But the case was never resolved. The
: contamination is not
: resolved. If anything it's gotten worse," Allen said.
: "... It's not an
: issue of proving it anymore. The state knows it's
: happening. Casella
: knows
: it's happening."

: Water leaching through layers of trash over time can
: form a toxic brew
: that
: seeps into groundwater and enters streams. This
: widespread pollution is
: why
: the Legislature over a decade ago decided to close
: many old, unlined
: landfills. Owners of the old dumps were often required
: to test ground
: water
: for signs of contamination.

: Casella bought the Newbury Waste Management landfill
: in Wells River in
: 1988
: and operated it for the next five years. But after the
: company failed
: to
: cap the landfill in 1993 according to the state's
: timetable, the Agency
: of
: Natural Resources took the company to court. A 1994
: settlement required
: the
: company to pay a $68,500 fine and "to take all actions
: necessary" to
: stem
: the pollution if tests showed the landfill continued
: to contaminate the
: water.

: Monitoring wells indicate that the old dump is still
: leaking chemicals
: into
: the environment. Manganese and iron levels in three
: wells exceeded
: state
: limits, while water samples also showed elevated
: levels of volatile
: organic
: compounds, including trichloroethene, benzene and
: methyl tert-butyl
: ether,
: according to 1999 state records. Earlier this year,
: the state also
: determined that the groundwater "seeps" - areas where
: water flows to
: the
: surface downhill from the landfill - violate water
: quality standards.

: Casella has offered to buy Allen's property and
: adjacent land that is
: also
: affected by the closed dump. The landowners refused to
: sell. Casella
: then
: proposed developing a new landfill on the site and
: transferring the
: waste
: from the old dump into the new lined landfill cell.
: The Agency of
: Natural
: Resources did not support that idea because of the
: time and expense
: involved. And Allen and her neighbor remain adamantly
: opposed to a new
: landfill.

: "Over my dead body will there be another landfill
: there," she said.

: While the landfill has not contaminated her drinking
: water, Allen said
: the
: pollution has complicated plans to conserve her dairy
: farm through a
: land
: trust. The Upper Valley Land Trust is reluctant to
: secure a
: conservation
: easement on the land because of potential liability
: issues, she said.

: "This has taken its toll on me, personally as well as
: on my business,"
: she
: said. "I live here. I can't go away ... I just foresee
: that Casella
: would
: drag this on forever and forever."

: Ponsetto, Casella's lawyer, said the pollution will
: eventually diminish
: as
: the landfill ages. He noted that the state has changed
: its mind from a
: year
: ago, when officials did not support a synthetic cap or
: other remedial
: action. Instead, Environmental Conservation
: Commissioner Canute
: Dalmasse
: agreed with Casella that the contamination will ease
: over time.

: Dalmasse told Allen in an October 1999 letter that the
: state would not
: force Casella to take further action to halt the
: pollution. "Overall,
: we
: are seeing contaminant levels lessening, and this is a
: direction that
: should continue as the closed landfill ages," Dalmasse
: wrote. "Given
: the
: modest numbers and types of contaminants, and the
: relatively low and
: generally decreasing concentrations of those
: contaminants, I do not
: believe
: that remedial action to the landfill is warranted at
: this time."

: But in October, Andrea Cohen, the head of the state's
: solid waste
: division,
: told the landfill owner that it had to submit a plan
: to stop the
: chemicals
: from leaking from the landfill. Cohen noted in her
: letter that Dalmasse
: agreed with her decision.

: Ponsetto now wants the state to return to its first
: ruling, rather than
: force the company to install a $1 million synthetic
: cap. "We think the
: right way (to deal with the issue) is essentially what
: the commissioner
: said a year ago," Ponsetto said.

: But Allen said the state needs to force the company to
: clean up its
: lingering pollution.

: "I'm just a dairy farmer. How much pressure can I put
: on Casella?" she
: said. "Why should my farm be a receptacle for
: leachate? Why should the
: Wells River?"

: The state ordered the company to submit by Nov. 15 a
: plan to cap the
: landfill by Oct. 15, 2001. Casella missed the deadline
: and instead
: challenged that order. State officials are now
: deciding how to proceed,
: said Andrew Raubvogel, general counsel for the Agency
: of Natural
: Resources.

:
: "The solid waste division (of the Agency of Natural
: Resources) is
: trying to
: move forward in a way they think is appropriate," he
: said.

: "If the data says there's an impact on the ground
: water or surface
: water we
: can require them to do more studies, more monitoring
: and more
: remediation,"
: Raubvogel said. "We've done that, and that's what they
: (Casella) have
: asked
: for reconsideration on."

you should get rid of this stock!!!!!
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