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Hazardous Waste Site Court Date Set

This year's Annual Town Meeting approved Town Counsel Gerald Moody's request for $50,000 to be used by the town for legal and engineering fees toward cleaning up some hazardous waste on town-owned property off the Upper Charles Trail – bringing the total "invested" by the town to more than $550,000.

A July 17 pre-trial date has been set for the courts to begin determining who is responsible for paying for the cleanup, Moody said.

"The cleanup down there has been completed," the town counsel told Town Meeting Members, referring to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s action last fall to excavate and remove about 700 tons of contaminated soil along the border of Milford Pond. "The litigation with Benjamin Moore does still go forward," he added.

During ongoing discussions with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) over the town's legal battle – half of which involves how the DEP classifies the hazardous waste site – the state agency got its federal counterpart to agree to use its federal funds to clean up the site to the extent that it will no longer legally be considered an environmental hazard, Moody explained last year.

That action resolved the town's legal issues with the DEP and allowed the DEP's regulations for classifying hazardous waste sites to remain unchallenged, he added. The EPA could still sue the town, as current owner of the property, to recover its clean-up costs.

Moody told Town Meeting members that a fall trial date is expected to hear the town's case that Benjamin Moore & Co. on Sumner St. be held legally responsible for the clean-up costs and paying back the funds the town has appropriated over the years for the litigation.




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