2006-03-02 / Letters to the Editor

Another side to story

A few weeks ago the town held a forum where the 50-percent design for the remediation of the old landfill, which now includes plans for the highway barn, was presented to a roomful of townspeople by GZA, the designing engineers, and a couple of folks from the state Department of Environmental Management. A couple of town councilors then refereed a question and answer session between the audience and the engineers from GZA and DEM.

The audience was comprised mainly of people from the north end of town who are dead set against the building of the barn on the landfill due to the threat of disturbing the site and threatening the drinking wells in the area. The townsfolk were not allowed to have their own expert engineers there to question the presenters of the 50 percent plan, so a packed roomful of residents were forced to do their best to point out flaws in the plan on their own, and did a great job. But what a joke!

GZA is the same firm that was hired by the town to kill a planned 30plus unit residential development on a farm next to the dump, not even on it! GZA concluded that the dump was the probable cause of contamination in some adjacent test wells, and the town voted to stop the planned development as too great a risk to drinking water in the area. Various town leaders complimented each other on “doing the right thing” and “erring on the side of caution” on the advice of GZA.

Now GZA, once again the “hired gun” for the town is arguing that it is okay to build on the old dump. The representatives from the DEM who were at the Q&A session admitted that they are encouraged to find uses for old landfills and are rewarded for doing so (never before on top of a landfill with residents on wells). Who is watching out for the townsfolk in the area? Not the Town Council! Not the DEM! Not the well-paid , “hired gun” GZA, who blatantly contradicted their old study of the area! And the Townsfolk were not allowed to have experts represent them at the Q&A session. That is outrageous!

Experts representing a quicklygrowing group of concerned citizens who are very much against the building on the dump will be heard. They will show their credentials and inform the people of Jamestown of the very real risk of building on the dump and show them the huge extra cost the remediation of the landfill will entail. The even bigger cost of reimbursing residents if their water is contaminated by disturbing the site is a very real threat. The assertion by GZA that building on the dump and moving acres of old trash won’t further disturb the site is preposterous!

Unfortunately, unless the Town Council comes to its senses and “does the right thing” and once again “errs on the side of caution” the experts hired by the concerned citizens will probably be heard in court (represented by the best R.I. attorneys). For people who want to hear the truth, there is going to be a presentation by these experts at the PAC from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 5th. There will be food and drink. Bring your favorite town councilor!

David King 1180 North Main Road

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