Saugus Board of Health concerned about Wheelabrator


The Board of Health criticized Wheelabrator Saugus after the latest environmental compliance audit uncovered a number of housekeeping issues at the trash-to-energy facility.

In its findings after inspecting Wheelabrator ENVIRON cited a number of problems at the plant, including discrepancies with the completion of sheets related to the monitoring of waste loads, the failure to list corrective actions on logs and inspection forms that don’t accurately depict the locations of spill containment kits.

“I was very disappointed, this doesn’t make me feel comfortable at all,” Board of Health member Pamela Harris said.

In the report filed by ENVIRON Wheelabrator offers responses to each of the issues that were identified, clarifying that the problems have been rectified.

The state Department of Environmental Protection required Wheelabrator to hire an independent environmental auditor to monitor compliance with environmental regulations after the company was hit with a $7.5 million fine last year to resolve alleged violations, such as emitting ash through holes in the roof, failure to properly treat and dispose of ash and dumping wastewater into surrounding wetlands.

Board members expressed concern that Wheelabrator Regional Vice President Jairaj Gosine has put corrective actions into place but still isn’t getting positive results out of them.

Harris suggested the board consider contacting the Attorney General’s Office and DEP to find out why problems keep surfacing at Wheelabrator.

“This is not what the citizens expect, nor do we deserve this,” Harris said.

Harris also brought up the complaints that came in from the public about an unpleasant odor that emanated from the Wheelabrator facility this past summer. She noted the problem seemed to stem from Wheelabrator not keeping the doors tightly shut in between trucks dropping off loads of waste.

“People were irate and I don’t blame them,” Harris said.

Board of Health member Stephen Rappa said the board repeatedly hears the same explanations from different managers at Wheelabrator, only to see the issues continually surface. He wondered if the company is lax with housekeeping matters what else could be going wrong at the facility.

Harris stressed that something needs to be done to help the residents who have to put up with the Wheelabrator plant on a daily basis.

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