George Boucher: Riverbank environmental threat in Easthampton

Easthampton Municipal Building

Easthampton Municipal Building GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Published: 03-25-2024 4:11 PM

Modified: 03-25-2024 7:04 PM

Easthampton officials are pulling another bad move. On the property of 282 Loudville Road there is a steep 100-foot bank that goes down to the north branch of the Manhan River. On this bank is an old dump with a couple of dump truck loads of hazardous waste.

There is a developer who is putting 14 units on the site and is putting a stormwater management plan in the vicinity of the dump, also an overflow trench, pointing right at the bank. This will be collecting stormwater from a cul-de-sac on the site, thus saturating the ground with water.

A property upstream had its whole bank slide down right into the river because the ground was saturated with water from heavy rain. City official are aware of this. I contacted the EPA about the dump, they turned it over to the Easthampton Conservation Committee to look for any violations.

An agent that came to the site confirmed the erosion on the bank, which is 15 feet from the dump, is a natural event and not a violation. The erosion has put tons of earth, rock and boulders into the river. She then went to the dump and thought the slope was too steep and seemingly unstable for her to investigate.

She cautioned that even if the date of the dumping could be determined and is found to be a violation, the commission would need to take care to prevent any action that could further destabilize the slope by the removal of embedded material. The commission agreed with these findings. If they know how unstable the bank is, shouldn’t something be done to retrieve as much as possible by professionals before an event happens?

The Planning Board writes that the dump is nothing but historic. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. I can’t see how anyone standing on top of the bank and looking down at the broken glass, rusty metal, etc. would call it historic. I call it a threat to the environment. DEP and EPA, are you out there?

George Boucher


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