Residents protest proposed expansion of South Hadley landfill
South Hadley landfill protesters, from left, Lori Eldridge, Christine
Archambault and Kathryn Gallivan, display signs outlining their opposition
to expanding the operation. (Etta Walsh photo) Purchase photo reprints »
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SOUTH HADLEY — Residents opposed to the proposed expansion of the town’s landfill protested lask week, urging Town Meeting voters to support their fight. Eight residents stood at the intersection of Park and Newton Streets last Thursday and again on Saturday carrying signs urging defeat of the expansion.
Voters at tonight’s special Town Meeting will be asked to accept newly approved boundaries for conservation land, a necessary step to freeing up abutting acreage for landfill expansion.
Landfill operator Interstate Waste Services, of Ramsey, N.J., wants to expand operations into a 16-acre portion of the Bynan Conservation Area, abutting the Industrial Road landfill.
The proposed expansion needs state and Board of Health approval before it can go forward, a lengthy process according to several town officials.
Saturday’s protest was organized by Calvin S. Diamond, 20, of Bartlett Street, a junior at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.
“More people need to be aware of this issue,” he said, while carrying a sign saying “Do the right thing, help stop Mount Trashmore.” Landfill abutters, South Hadley Against More Expansion, have dubbed the landfill operation “Mount Trashmore,” referring to its above-the-treeline height.
They complain the operation creates noxious odors, trash, dust and dirt, and poses a threat to groundwater.
“We’re asking Town Meeting members to do a little research before they vote,” said group spokeswoman Christine Archambault, of 259 Old Lyman Road. “There are still a lot more hoops for (IWS) to jump through,” Diamond said of the pending expansion process.
“We just don’t want to let them have this hoop.” The Bynan property, bought by South Hadley in 1978, consists of 162 acres.
The Conservation Commission recently accepted surveyed boundaries, setting aside a 107-acre parcel that will be permanently protected as passive recreation land. In order for the 107 acres to be recorded at the Hampshire Country Registry of Deeds as protected land, Town Meeting voters must approve. Kathryn F. Gallivan of 26 Lyman Terrace said protesters are fed up about “quality of life issues” regarding the landfill operation.
“We’ve been complaining for years,” she said.
“Hopefully, at some point, the landfill will be closed.” Gloria J. and Robert L. Boudreau of 35 Yale St. said they oppose using any Bynan land for landfill expansion. Robert Boudreau said he and his wife of 52 years hoped other landfill opponents will attend Town Meeting to show support for the effort to stop the expansion. Lori S. Eldridge of 45 Columbia St. held a protest sign while dressed in a green garbarge bag that South Hadley residents use in the town’s “pay as you throw” trash program that started last year.
“I figured it would get people’s attention,” she said. Annemarie T. Flaherty of 9 Oak Ave. used the bell and flashing red light from her bicyle to attract motorists’ attention, as Eldridge approached vehicles stopped at the traffic light to distribute flyers describing the group’s opposition to the landfill.
Etta Walsh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org