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Quincy DPW is ordered to fix environmental problems

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  December 6, 2012 04:33 PM

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Quincy will have to budget for a truck-washing facility sometime in the next year, to settle charges that dirty water from cleaning city trucks made its way into the Town River.

The alleged violation was one of over 15 documented by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection during site visits in November and December of 2011, but is one of the few that city officials say they haven’t resolved.

The document was requested from the DEP by way of a Freedom of Information Act request, and can be found here.

Among the allegations, the city was charged with failing to properly store waste oil and hazardous waste at the Department of Public Works yard, implement safety procedures around hazardous waste storage, properly dispose of catch basin cleanings (which ended up in the Town River), and put stormwater runoff controls in place.

The DEP also found fault with the city’s work related to Faxon Field and the track, saying that the dirt used to preload the site – which is adjacent to wetlands - contained trash.

Finally, although the city received permission from the Quincy Conservation Commission to install an equalization pipe in the track area for flood control, the DEP faulted the city for not seeking out a Notice of Intent from their organization for the work.

All the alleged violations were documented in a Consent Order issued by the DEP in October 2012, ordering the city to fix any remaining issues or face a fine of $38,000. The documents were not released to the public until December.

According to DEP spokesman Joe Ferson, the agency wants to put emphasis on getting the problems resolved rather than penalizing the city. Most likely the city will not have to pay the fine, Ferson said.

“They have been very cooperative getting these things corrected, but we will be following up with on-site inspections with [the DPW] itself,” Ferson said.

In the consent order, the city neither admitted nor denied the allegations. And according to DPW Commissioner Daniel Raymondi, many of the problems have already been fixed.

The DPW has stopped accepting gasoline and oil from residents, and had re-trained employees on how to properly store existing materials in the meantime, he said.

Additional training and some equipment purchases will have to take place before the DPW can start accepting oil and hazardous materials once more, Raymondi said.

“A lot of those issues have already been addressed. The ones we could handle in-house relatively efficiently and quickly, we addressed them to the satisfaction of DEP,” Raymondi said.

In accordance with the consent order, an outside contractor will have to be hired to remove all hazardous waste.

Additionally, the fill dirt has since been removed off Faxon Field and debris removed from the fill, solving that problem.

Though there are other items the city will need to do to be in compliance with the mandate – including regrading of the DPW's rear yard - the most expensive aspect remaining is the truck wash, which the city is mandated to purchase before October 2013.

Raymondi didn't say a concrete cost for the purchase, but said it is possible that the city may be able to negotiate that purchase with an outside vendor.

“Things like a truck-washing facility is a large expenditure and the permitting will take us a while,” Raymondi said.

The DPW has been looking for an outside company to help manage yard waste in the rear yard – a proposal completely separate from the violations in the report -- however two requests for proposals have gone unanswered.

While DPW officials are negotiating a possible contract with an outside vendor, the DPW will be able to fix all violation problems even if no vendor is found to manage aspects of the rear yard, Raymondi said.

“Within the next year some of those matters should be addressed by the city. I wouldn’t anticipate any agreement with an outside party prior to that,” Raymondi said.

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