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Work near Quincy marsh halted by Department of Environmental Protection

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  October 23, 2013 04:21 PM

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The Department of Environmental Protection has issued a work stoppage for park improvements near Broad Meadows marsh, saying the material used to create recreation on the land was inappropriate for the site.

“We’re still looking at what comes next,” said Ed Coletta, a press spokesman for the state agency, noting that the issue was a verbal request. A written order has not been produced.

Coletta would not specify what materials were being used that were prohibited, but said his agency started looking in to the site at the request of a local resident. Questions soon arose about some of the material being used to create the park.

Department of Public Works employees said the work was being undertaken entirely through the Parks Department. Quincy Park Director Chris Cassani did not return repeated calls for comment. However, city solicitor Jim Timmins said problems mainly had to do with how the park department stabilized the bank.

City employees had initially undertaken work to create a grassland after the Army Corps of Engineers, who were undertaking a marsh restoration in the area, ran out of money.

Under the permit issued to the Army Corps, city employees resurfaced the area and started seeding, using materials from the Department of Public Works rear yard.

Yet before the grass could take hold, rain ruined some of the created banks.

“We had silt running down what was supposed to be roadways and pathways,” Timmins said.

Park employees subsequently decided to use tailings from the rear yard – often comprised of rocks, twigs, and sometimes plastic remains from yard waste– to stabilize the banks.

“They plucked out as much of the plastic as they could and put the tailings in and then put soil on top of it,” Timmins said.

However the procedure was against Environmental Protection laws, and Quincy has been ordered to remove the tailings and replace them with organic matter. Employees plan to re-grade the area to ease runoff problems.

Before that process can begin, Quincy will have to go before the Conservation Commission to get permission to take approximately 2000 yards of tailings out of the earth.

“[Park employees] thought it was going to work,” Timmins said. “It was a band aid putting these in…it’s not like they were putting [chemicals] in there; it was branches, it wouldn’t cause a negative environmental impact.”

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