Thursday, May 15, 2014

MassDEP Cites Casella For April Soil Slide

Ken O’Brien

Southbridge Recycling and Disposal Park
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has issued an Administrative Order to Casella Waste Systems regarding a series of soil slides at the Southbridge Recycling and Disposal Park (SRDP) last month.

The letter of transmittal notes, “If you fail to take any action the Department now wants you to take by the prescribed deadline, or if you otherwise fail to comply in the future with the requirements applicable to you, you could be subject to legal action. Such action could include criminal prosecution, court-imposed civil penalties, or civil administrative penalties, which may be assessed for every day from now on that you are in noncompliance with the requirements referred to above.”

According to the documents presented, on April 24, 2014, SRDP notified the Department that an area of soil had slid down a steep slope in area referred to as "the 710 Plateau", in the northwest  corner of the Facility, adjacent to an area subject to protection under the Wetlands Protection Act. 

On April 25, 2014 MassDEP visited the Facility to inspect the soil slide area and to
observe the repairs for the 710 Plateau, which had been discussed by telephone with SRDP.
During the inspection, MassDEP observed not one, but two slide areas: a larger area
(approximately 10 feet by 20 feet) and a smaller area (approximately 3 feet by 5 feet). SRDP
had notified MassDEP of the larger, but not the smaller of the soil slides. In the two areas, soil
had slid down the steep slope, resulting in significant erosion on the 710 Plateau side slope,
adjacent to the wetland area.

These recent slides follow similar events last August. At that time roughly 20,000 cubic yards
of excavated soil slid to wetlands partly inside the Charlton town boundary line.

The citation goes on to note that on May 1, 2014, SRDP submitted a report titled "710 Plateau —
Temporary Slope Repairs, Southbridge Recycling & Disposal Park, Inc." dated April 30, 2014,
prepared by Sanborn, Head, and Associates, Inc. This report described repairs made to four areas
of "surficial sloughing" at the 710 Plateau area of the Facility on April 25, 2014. The additional
two soil slides were along the same slope, but further to the north. SRDP repaired all four slide
 areas on April 25, 2014, the day of MassDEP's inspection.

On May 5, 2014, the Department received a Daily Field Report for the Facility dated
May 2, 2014, prepared by Sanborn, Head, & Associates, Inc., on behalf of SRDP. This report
identified five repaired soil slide areas and an additional "area of concern" at the 710 Plateau.

The DEP concludes, “The repeated and continuing erosion, in the form of soil slides, on the 710
Plateau abutting the wetlands resource area is a violation of paragraph IV.J of the 2012 ATC and
of 310 CMR 19.015. Specifically, the BMPs in place need to be modified to prevent additional
failure of the compromised slope at the 710 Plateau.”

In accordance with that conclusion, MassDEP issued the following set of orders:
10. For the reasons stated above… MassDEP hereby ORDERS as follows:
A. SRDP shall take immediate action to manage stormwater and protect wetland
resource areas by implementing and maintaining Best Management Practices (BMPs) for erosion
and sedimentation control at the 710 Plateau. Specifically, SRDP shall evaluate cutting back the
slope at the 710 Plateau to a lesser grade, benching the slope, and installing additional
stormwater control measures. During repair and stabilization activities, SRDP shall prevent any
alteration to areas subject to protection under the Wetlands Protection Act.
B. SRDP shall submit daily written status reports via email to James McQuade
( ) and Jonathan Chihoski ( ) of
MassDEP describing actions taken to manage stormwater and to protect the wetlands at the 710
Plateau area of the Facility.
C. Within ten (10) days of the date of this Order, SRDP shall submit to MassDEP:
            i. A BWP SW 45 Alternative Review Process for Certain Modifications of a Solid
            Waste Management Facility permit application concerning alterations that have
            already been made to the Facility in the area of the 710 Plateau, and
            ii. A BWP SW 22 Minor Modification of Existing Landfill permit application
            concerning necessary modifications to the 710 Plateau and a schedule for
            completing those repairs.
While the permit applications are under review by MassDEP, SRDP shall continue to comply
with the requirements of paragraph 10.A above.

11. Upon receipt of this Order, SRDP shall immediately notify MassDEP in writing of its
intent to comply with this Order. Failure by SRDP to provide such notification shall constitute a
violation of this Order.

12. SRDP is advised that if it fails to comply with this Order, M.G.L. c. 111, § 150A
provides, "Any person, including any political subdivision of the commonwealth who violates
this section, or any order issued pursuant thereto, or any rule or regulation promulgated
hereunder (1) shall be subject to a fine of not more than twenty-five thousand dollars,
($25,000.00) or by imprisonment for not more than two years in a house of correction, or both,
for each such violation; or (2) shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed twenty-five
thousand dollars ($25,000.00) for each such violation. Each day each such violation occurs or
continues shall be deemed a separate offense. These penalties shall be in addition to any other
penalties that may be prescribed by law."

13. SRDP is further advised that if it fails to comply with this Order, M.G.L. c. 21A, § 16
provides for civil administrative penalties of up to $25,000.00 for each day after the issuance of
this Order during which each violation covered by this Order continues or is repeated. 

The document concludes by advising Casella of its right to appeal.


  1. Good read. Shared on fb.

  2. Casella is creating over $20Million a year in honest business on that pile if garbage and they are nice enough go share over $2Million of it with the town of South bridge, so why are these green monsters from the state picking on them?
    That blowhard that is running for Council does not help with his always complaining about these pickyunne envirofreak feel good laws being broken when they are almost impossible to follow. Give the businessmen a break for a change.

    1. Give Us Our ShareMay 18, 2014 at 6:34 PM

      If Casella owned the Barefoot Road landfill and didn't postpone the cleanup of the heavy metals that have contaminated the ground water around the landfill and the Airport, getting a fee $Million might be considered a good deal, but the town owns the landfill, so half of the $20-$30 Million sounds more fair to me.
      Since Casella is obviously breaking the rules, this would be a great time to force them to both do their job properly and provide the town at least half the revenue, especially since WE own the land and they claimed we were their partner back when they made their promises.
      We used to save $50 a month at Big Y with recycleBank bucks-now all we get is the stench and truck traffic.


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