CLF Files Appeal to Stop Expansion of Ash Landfill

Town's authority and danger to public ignored in recent decision

Wheelabrator Power Plant Photo

CLF has appealed MassDEP's decision to approve the expansion of the ash landfill in Saugus. Photo: Fletcher6 via Creative Commons 3.0

May 9, 2018 (SAUGUS, MA) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has appealed a Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) decision to approve an expansion of the Saugus ash landfill. MassDEP approved the project despite the fact that Wheelabrator Saugus, Inc., which owns and operates the landfill, never obtained a required site assignment permit from the Saugus Board of Health.

Wheelabrator’s landfill and adjacent solid waste incinerator are located in the middle of a fragile salt marsh and surrounded by densely populated areas, and the company is planning to expand the landfill’s capacity and dump 560,000 additional tons of ash from the incinerator there. The Saugus Board of Health notified Wheelabrator in 2016 that it was required to apply for a new site assignment from the town, but Wheelabrator has failed to do so. The Saugus Board of Health is also appealing MassDEP’s approval to expand the landfill.

“The Wheelabrator landfill is the most dangerous in Massachusetts, and it is putting the health of nearby residents at risk,” said Kirstie Pecci, director of the Zero Waste Project and a Senior Fellow at CLF. “The local site assignment process ensures that the people who are directly affected by this expansion are heard. For that reason, state law grants the Saugus Board of Health ultimate authority over waste facilities in the town. Until the board determines whether the landfill is a potential danger to public health and safety as well as the environment, MassDEP legally cannot allow this project to move forward.”

The filing is available here.

CLF experts are available for further comment.