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A letter to the DEP commissioner

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Precinct 10 Town Meeting Members call on DEP to require “open and transparent” closure of ash landfill

(Editor’s Note: The five Saugus Town Meeting members for Precinct 10 recently wrote the following letter to state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg and requested that it be published as a letter-to-the-editor, as it reflects their opinion on a matter of public policy that will be decided by MassDEP and the Saugus Board of Health.)

Dear Commissioner Suuberg,

  We, the five representative Town Meeting Members for Precinct 10 In Saugus, wish to go on record against permitting any vertical or lateral expansion of the ash landfill operated by WIN (formerly Wheelabrator) of Saugus.

  We would further urge the DEP to immediately require WIN/Wheelabrator to commence an open and transparent closure process for this landfill which will reportedly reach capacity in 2024.

  As you indicated in your November 16th correspondence to Representative Turco, MassDEP is barred from issuing a favorable Determination of Site Suitability for any expansion of the Landfill and therefore any expansion cannot go before the Town of Saugus Board of Health for a site assignment.

  Local Boards of Health are only required to hold a Site Assignment hearing or issue a Site Assignment to applicants if they first receive a favorable Determination of Site Suitability.

  Alongside the legal issues of expansion, there are numerous environmental and health issues as well. WIN/Wheelabrator’s ash landfill is located within a one-mile radius of Environmental Justice communities in Saugus, and its impacts extend well beyond Saugus to neighboring Environmental Justice communities in Revere and Lynn.

  For decades, these communities, and in particular East Saugus, have been burdened by pollution and nitrogen oxides being emitted by WIN/Wheelabrator. As we are sure you are aware Saugus has hosted this facility since 1974. Saugus, and in particular East Saugus, has done more than its share for the region’s solid waste. For these reasons, we stand in support against permitting a vertical expansion at WIN/Wheelabrator.

  You should also know that the location of this ash landfill has a zoning overlay that allows for construction of a solar farm. This use would be far more beneficial to the Commonwealth and its citizens.


Martin Costello, Peter Delios, Peter Manoogian, Darren Ring and Carla Scuzzarella

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