EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 24, 2013

Land purchase to correct "history" of landfill error

Andover landfill accidentally "migrated" onto private property

By Dustin Luca

---- — ANDOVER — Town Meeting voters will be asked to buy 11.5 acres of privately owned land after the town’s landfill accidentally “migrated” onto it decades ago.

The property at 138 Chandler Road is currently farm land owned by Bob Park, who lives across the street at 141 Chandler Road. The land comes with a price tag of $775,000.

The full lot of land is 58 acres, according to town assessing records. Only 11 acres of the farm will be brought before the town due to contamination from the nearby Ledge Road landfill, according to Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski.

Today, trash is hauled and incinerated outside of Andover. But as the town used this landfill before capping it in the 1970s, “some of the refuse ended up on (Park’s) property, over the line,” Stapczynski said. “Not in great amounts, but it did go over in a couple of areas.”

As the town used the landfill and the size of it increased, Park questioned the placement of the property line, saying the landfill was expanding onto his private property.

At that point, “we did a survey of the site,” Stapczynski said. “We found that, indeed, some of the trash was placed over the line.”

The landfill has been closed for decades, so the issue “has a long history,” Stapczynski said. With the Town Meeting article, “we’re moving to resolve it.”

Of the 11.5 acres, only “a fraction” of it is from the landfill exceeding the town’s property line. The rest of the purchase is for land that needs to be cleaned and remediated due to improper water drainage from the landfill, Stapczynski said.

The water drains into Fish Brook, which feeds into the town’s drinking water supply at Haggett’s Pond. While his property is dirty because of its proximity to the landfill, he’s also concerned about the town’s drinking water.

“Naturally, years ago, they dumped all kinds of stuff in there,” Park said. “The back of the dump, you look at the water that’s running out there, feeding into Fish Brook. It would gag a maggot, but that’s beside the point.”

The town has been aware of the issue, and in the past has vetted the quality of the town’s drinking water. Water coming out of residential faucets is treated at the town’s Water Treatment Plant, located directly on Haggett’s Pond.

When asked further questions about how the water quality coming off the site, Stapczynski said he wasn’t prepared to go into further detail, except to say that the water drainage is “part of why we’re buying 11.5 acres instead of just an acre.”

The article is just one of at least 59 coming to Annual Town Meeting on April 29.

For more Andover news, follow @DustinLucaET on Twitter. For feedback and story inquiries, email dluca@eagletribune.com.