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A Cap on Ash

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Acting DEP Commissioner says agency ruling continues on no future expansion of ash landfill at WIN Waste Innovations Incinerator site

Acting state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commission Gary Moran said he doesn’t expect any change in the previous administration’s ban on expansion of the ash landfill at WIN Waste Innovations trash-to-energy landfill.

“The Department’s interpretation of the regulations remains unchanged from the writing of the November 2021 letter and there has been

No alteration of the conditions at the site to warrant a different outcome,” Acting Commissioner MassDEP Gary Moran wrote in a letter this week to state Rep. Jessica Giannino (D-Revere), whose district includes Precincts 3 and 10 in Saugus.

Moran cited the letter signed by former DEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg, who wrote that any future proposals for expansion would require a modification to the facility’s site assignment and approval from MassDEP and the Saugus Board of Health.

“As the landfill is located within an [ACEC], an expansion of the landfill

(Including vertical expansion) would need to meet the site suitability criteria in the Regulations with respect to the site assignment,” Suuberg wrote.

“While an applicant is free to propose a site assignment modification, and MassDEP will review information submitted, based upon the information presently before MassDEP, the facility fails to meet the necessary site suitability criteria to allow for expansion within the ACEC and therefore would not receive a positive site suitability determination,” Suuberg wrote.

“Without a positive site suitability determination from MassDEP, a

proposal to amend the facility’s site assignment to allow for vertical expansion would not advance to the Saugus Board of Health for consideration.”

Saugus Selectman Debra Panetta hailed it as major good news for residents of Saugus and nearby communities who oppose further expansion of the ash landfill at the incinerator site on Route 107.

“This administration’s position is the same as the last – the landfill can only be changed if the regulations or law changes. Given that that is highly unlikely, the Town of Saugus should proceed as if this landfill is about to close. A closure committee should be established along with discussions on remediation,” Panetta said Wednesday (March 15) in a statement to The Saugus Advocate.

“It’s important to note that the Saugus Board of Selectmen have no jurisdiction to sign a host agreement with WIN Waste. Even with their proposed host agreement, WIN Waste still can’t get their nitrogen oxide levels down to 150 PPM minimum requirement without purchasing emission credits from more efficient facilities. That is not good for the health and well-being of Saugus residents and our neighboring communities,” Panetta said.

“There should be a focus on getting just financial compensation from WIN as there are on-going impacts from the operation of the incinerator itself. The town’s compensation should not be tied to the landfill issues as that is on track for closure. It’s important to remember that WIN Waste Saugus is the oldest incinerator in the nation,” she said.

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