Gardner MA Decides to Move Forward on Seeking Approval for Landfill Expansion
We first reported on this in May, 2022 and asked for comment from the DPW Director, but did not hear back. However, the City of Gardner released this statement on July 11, 2022 on its website: “In 2023, the City of Gardner will construct a 4.3 acre expansion to the existing West Street sludge landfill, which receives biosolids, a nutrient rich biproduct of the city’s wastewater treatment process. While treated organic biosolids should not pose a threat to human or environmental health, safe and effective management prevents inadvertent industrial compounds from infiltrating our soils, water and air. The City of Gardner has explored numerous alternatives for managing biosolids and determined that landfill expansion best balances our community’s infrastructural, environmental, and economic priorities.” A 3 page pdf from the City of Gardner provides more information on the City’s Plan. CLICK HERE.
Opposition to the Expansion
As soon as Gardner put forth the idea of possibly increasing the size of the landfill to allow for more sludge, Environmental groups opposed the move due to concerns over how the sludge might affect the surrounding area.
In particular, The Millers River Watershed Council opposes the expansion of the Gardner Landfill to add more sludge because they state, “this ill-conceived project, which will, if approved, have substantial negative consequences for our region and beyond.” They have devoted an entire webpage to the issue. CLICK HERE. Printable pdf, CLICK HERE.
The first step in understanding the issue is to understand what Sewage Sludge is and what can be done with it. Penn State offers the most complete explanation we can find, and it’s useful because it offers a number of solution alternatives… View Sewage Sludge Guide.
In order to proceed with the landfill expansion, Gardner must receive approval from the State of MA. Given opposition from Environmental Groups, it is reasonable to assume an eventual decision will take some time to reach. Therefore, the announced date of 2023.