By Paul Tennant
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — Three or four old television sets possibly containing mercury were found illegally discarded at the Mazurenko Farm Conservation Area near Carter Field Road Saturday night.
Patrolman Steven Corr made the discovery while on cruiser patrol on Bradford Street at 8:54 p.m.
Corr contacted the Department of Public Works, which removed the TVs and disposed of them in the proper fashion.
Public Works Director Bruce Thibodeau said illegal dumping is “not a major problem in North Andover,” but he noted that old TVs usually contain mercury , and that is a hazardous chemical.
Conservation Administrator Jennifer Hughes said she could not say offhand just how much harm a few TV sets can do to the environment, but she pointed out the area where Corr made his discovery is within the watershed for Lake Cochichewick, the town’s water supply.
Catching the culprit who dumped the TVs will be next to impossible, Detective Daniel Cronin said.
Unlike an automobile, a TV does not have an identification number that could help police locate the owner, he noted. High-tech cameras hidden near the Spicket River greenway in Lawrence helped police and the state Department of Environmental Protection catch eight people who dumped TV sets, construction debris, tires, computers and other debris last summer.
The dumpers were fined at least $300 each and some were ordered to clean up the mess they made.
Thibodeau said he doesn’t think North Andover’s illegal dumping problem is serious enough to call for installing hidden cameras at conservation areas and other places where people have been known to drop off “presents.”
If a resident has an old TV to get rid off, the TBI/Northside Carting facility at 210 Holt Road accepts them for a $15 fee, he pointed out.
TBI is open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.