GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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January 25, 2013

Cleanup roadblock on Pine Street

One homeowner holding out from deal to have land cleaned, excavated

MANCHESTER — Town officials are concerned that proper permits will not be in place in order to have a former dump site capped and meet the demands of a state environmental mandate.

That’s because one of the three homeowners whose property was found to be abutting ground above a one-time burn dump have not yet reached an agreement with the town for the cleanup of her property, and continues to live in the house that remains on the site.

Town Administrator Wayne Melville said the property owner of 162 Pine St., Ana Costa, has not signed off on proper permits, which would allow contractors to clean the area, or on any sale agreement. The proposal needs to be approved by the Conservation Commission.

Two other residents — who, like Costa, live adjacent to, but not on the former burn dump site — have previously signed off on agreements to have their land excavated and properly cleaned, Melville said. The move to cap the site must be approved by a vote at a Town Meeting, but nothing can be proposed until the site is properly cleaned. With the Town Meeting scheduled for April, Melville said the chances of meeting deadline are not likely.

A spokesman for the state DEP, Edmund Coletta, said officials are working to come up with a proper proposal that would excavate contaminated material and sediments from a nearby stream, which runs just behind Costa’s property.

The five-acre site on Pine Street was used as a burn dump in the 1950s and houses were built on the land after the dump was closed down. When Julie and David Gesner tried to sell their home, which once sat on 156 Pine St., they discovered toxic levels of cadmium, arsenic, lead and chromium in 2008. Soil testing, performed by Woodard and Curran, began in September 2008. After confirming the levels of the metals and toxins were higher than normal, town officials took action.

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