What is the Cecil Smith Landfill?

A 23-acre solid waste landfill operational from 1954-1983 located at 452 Old Fall River Road in Dartmouth

The Cecil Smith Landfill is both unlined and uncapped.

There has been an established history of non-compliance with health and safety and RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) regulations on the property

The landfill first came to EPA and municipal attention in the 1970’s due to the unauthorized dumping of urban waste

PCB’s were found on the property in the 1980’s

Scrap metal was discovered in 2009; the owner was fined $12,000 per state enforcement order but the fine was never collected

What’s happening now?

Boston Environmental Corporation is proposing to cap and close the landfill on the owner’s behalf under MassDEP’s Unlined Landfill Closure Policy (Mark Dakers, MassDEP)

According to MassDEP and BEC, the landfill will be capped with 65 feet of imported fill material.

How will they cap it?

A large-scale trucking project involving 55-60 trucks daily, six days a week, for three years, ostensibly to pay for the cap in the absence of owner funds

What are the problems with the current approach?

A current, comprehensive evaluation of the property has not been performed. The level of contaminants in the surrounding waterways is unknown. The contents of the landfill are unknown and local residents worry about adverse reactions with the imported fill material, especially given observed accounts of fires at the site.

The 2004 EPA evaluation detected VOC’s, SVOC’s, cyanide, and metals such as lead and mercury.

While a financial assurance mechanism (MassDEP bond) exists, the $500,000 in the FAM for 30 years of maintenance appears insufficient given the many risks of the project

There is a severe lack of information about what direction the groundwater has historically traveled, as well as what this would mean in terms of contaminant migration (the property itself sits on and is surrounded by wetlands)

The increased road repair, maintenance, and monitoring costs for the town due to the dramatic increase in trucking (not to mention the safety problems stemming from trucking through narrow routes) would lay a disproportionate financial burden on the public, inadvertently enabling the private owner to profit once her land has been capped

While residents have the full support of public officials like Representative Chris Markey and Senator Mark Montigny, we ask that you support this petition to protect the citizens of Dartmouth and secure local rights to public health and safety.


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