A special Town Council meeting has been scheduled for Monday, March 7, to discuss the ongoing capping project at the former town landfill, a project that has caused concern with several Island Park residents.
Members of the newly-formed private citizens group, the Island Park Landfill Committee (IPLC), sat at the Town Council meeting Monday until nearly 10:30 p.m. to hear any updates on the project.
Councilwoman Elizabeth A. Pedro noted the wait and requested a special meeting to be held next Monday to assist concerned citizens of Island Park. Pedro’s request was passed unanimously to hold the meeting, which will begin on March 7 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.
Last year, received final approvals by the state to recap this land that once housed the former town landfill.
The former town dump or landfill is located at the corner of Park and Mason Avenues. The land is privately owned by AP Enterprises, but was leased to the town in the 1970s.
However, in December, AP Enterprises submitted a request to modify an aspect of a prior DEM approval in order to accept sub-grade capping materials with elevated levels of .
The main concern by the IPLC is an allegation that soils are being dumped at the Island Park location from an out-of-state construction site that may or may not contain high levels of heavy metals and toxins, according to the group.
Gary Hahn, a member of the IPLC, collected a soil sample on Feb. 11 and brought it to the town council. That sample was sent out for testing the next day with the results to come back the following week.
Results were not shared by Larry Fitzmorris, the IPLC spokesman, on Monday.
“We can not make a definitive statement at this point in time. We’re contacting our environmental lawyers McGregor & Associates of Boston,” said Fitzmorris.
The IPLC has hired this firm to look into the issue.
According to the McGregor & Associates’ Web site, it is a “law firm representing clients in environmental and real estate matters throughout New England.”
The Web site also states, “The firm works on the entire range of environmental law, commercial and residential real estate, and related litigation, as well as environmental planning and strategy.”
Hahn said he is concerned on many levels.
“I’ve lived in Island Park for 40 years," he said. "My kids grew up here and now these people want to dump contaminated dirt down here. It’s just not right. Also, since the last council meeting I’ve received a letter from their () lawyers. That’s a concern for me."
Also, the same week the soil samples were sent out by IPLC, DEM also collected samples at the site. Town Administrator Robert Driscoll said Monday those samples taken by DEM met the state's standards for "industrial" limits.
According to DEM’s Mark Dennen, samples of soils that had been contracted to be dumped were tested in January of this year. These samples all met the state's standards.
The samples needed to be tested prior to being trucked to the site. Regular site samples, which are finally dump at the Park Avenue site, are tested every 2,500 cubic yards.
IPLC plans to hold a rally in front of the Park Avenue site this Saturday, March 5, from noon to 2 p.m. in order to raise awareness of their cause. They will also gather in front of the transfer station on Saturday morning.
The IPLC is also seeking donations to help their legal battle.
The group asks for checks or money orders, made payable to the "Island Park Landfill Committee," to be sent to P.O. Box 196, Portsmouth, RI 02871. According to a member of the IPLC, the funds collected will go towards the costs of lawyers.