Aug 18, 2022
On August 4 we spoke with Alan Rousseau of Gardner Clean Air and Ivan Ussach of the Millers River Watershed Council regarding the latest progress made by the city of Gardner(MA) in its quest to expand an existing sludge landfill.
We had an opportunity with the two gentlemen to expand upon information we have touched upon in previous interviews, this being a part of an on-going series to ensure transparency in this controversial project.
Ivan explained the geologic issues at play underneath the existing landfill and Alan recounted the organizations specific issues regarding some design elements like outflows and collection ponds which may compromise the existing protected areas that abut the project.
We received a lengthy quote in the Gardner News prior to the interview by Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson and examined why his quote was potentially inaccurate in characterizing where the project status stands in the eyes of the state of Massachusetts.
Nicholson: I think there’s just some misinformation that’s out there, not understanding the full project. …Like the fact that we’re even at this point means that everything’s had to be vetted as thoroughly as possible by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the EPA. This is something that, we have to be remembering our fiduciary responsibility that we have for our rate payers. This is not a taxpayer project because not everyone is on our sewer system, but it has to be something that we take care of in the way that’s most effective, most environmentally friendly, and financially responsible for us. In that, we’ve looked at other proposals. We’ve looked at anaerobic digestion, we’ve looked at trucking the cost away, but it would result in a massive increase in our sewer rates, and we just can’t pass that on to the rate payers. Especially with those on a fixed income, and stuff like that, a massive tripling of the sewer rates is not a financially responsible decision for us to be able to make like that. So we’re doing what we can, but we also will continue to look for ways that we can move forward in the future, to come up with a longer term solution, then just the 17 years that this expansion would give us.
Ivan also explained how the city has not performed a feasibility study of any alternatives, having only studied the plan currently being proposed by the city.
Listen Now to learn this and more including just how much this project has already cost rate payers and what it may cost for the next 17 years plus.