2006-03-30 / Letters to the Editor

Another view from the north

The following letter was sent to North End Concerned Citizens and copied to the Press:

I received your "Important Notice" letter regarding the location of the town highway facility and the potential hazards of the Jamestown landfill.

I know it is safe to say that a great majority of the properties that you represent were purchased and built upon while and after the "Jamestown Dump" was in service. No one ever tried to hide the dump from view, and many of you took your refuse there.

I am sure that every one of you purchased your properties with knowledge of the dump location. If you did not, shame on you. Prior to purchasing your properties, you had an obligation and certainly the opportunity to evaluate the risks versus the advantages of the choice that you made. You all had access to any knowledge and research available for dump sites around the country. Granted, there has been more research done on the subject, and now you may have concerns that you did not have before. You all chose to buy, build, and move to the north end.

I would guess that during the life of the Jamestown Dump it serviced an average of 3,500 people yearly. For most of its service, the dump was simply a pile of trash. Then we had to bury the trash. As I recall, that was because it was safer. One of the downsides was that we could no longer shoot rats. We don't have a mountain of refuse. Now might just be the time for all of us to own up to our mess and move it to someone else's back yard. That seems to be the American way. Jamestown has an opportunity to improve its situation by allowing and insisting on proper remediation. If that means we need to spend a great deal of tax dollars, then so be it.

The North End Concerned Citizens attitude is very reminiscent of people who buy a house at the end of an airport runway because of price, view, or proximity and then complain about the noise of the planes.

I live on the north end. My n e i g h b o r ' leach fields are too close to my well, and their wells are too close to my leach field. Maybe my water is even affected by the dump site. I have two wells that don't provide decent water nor very much of it. My water is very acidic, has iron and a list of other goodies that I would be better off without. I have filters, chemical feeders, and a reverse osmosis system, and still my dog will not drink the tap water but he will drink from a muddy puddle. Could there be a message there? You might not believe this, but I had the water tested before I moved in. I knew what I was getting. If the quality of the water gets worse, I have to be willing to assume responsibility for my mistake. I suppose I could move.

Those people who are concerned with their safety could move. After all, that would be the intelligent thing to do if you feel that your location is untenable. The bottom line is: if you don't like living near the dump, you should not have moved there. Most of the people who lived in the Love Canal moved out. That all came about in 1978. The Love Canal residents did not know the risk they faced. You moved in by your own choice!

The dump property is the logical location for a highway barn. Let us hope we build a quality facility. The majority of the voters believe that to be the case. I certainly understand why you might not want a town facility in your area. Who would? Everything that the town owns is in horrendous condition. Maintenance is unheard of. Finishing a municipal project seems rare. If that is what you are really concerned about, you should just say so and get on with it.

I am very certain that my opinion is not to your liking, and the truth is often painful. Sincerely,

Bar Wharton


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