NEW BEDFORD – The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is extending its site suitability review for Parallel Products’ proposed trash transfer facility in New Bedford’s North End.
Mark Dakers, chief of the Solid Waste division at MassDEP’s Southeast regional office, said the final site suitability report for Parallel Products’ proposed expansion will now be issued on Monday, Dec. 18.
The original deadline for the review was Nov. 1, but Parallel Products — operating under the name “South Coast Renewables, L.L.C.”— was granted a 45-day extension to respond to MassDEP’s technical comments.
In an Oct. 30 letter to Tim Cusson, Parallel Products’ vice-president of business development, Dakers expressed the agency’s concerns over incomplete application materials identifying sources of noise pollution.
Specifically, he noted that this section of the application did not account for noise from the mobile railcar mover and street sweeper, and the noise monitoring study for continuously operating equipment was incomplete, given it was only conducted in one location at the facility.
He added that the company removed a sound barrier that was requested during the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act review process that went from 2020 through 2022 without “adequate discussion or justification to eliminating the sound barrier.”
“MassDEP has determined that a revised and complete AQ Sound Form must be submitted in order…to evaluate whether the proposed facility will result in nuisance conditions and if it is designed to mitigate sound impacts to the maximum extent practical,” the letter said.
Dakers further noted in the letter that Parallel’s estimates for average truck loads of 19.7 tons are “unreasonably high,” while estimates of peak daily truck traffic are considered low.
“SCR [sic] should utilize data from a comparable facility…and submit all data to support the assumptions,” Dakers wrote. “MassDEP recommends SCR discuss the comparable facility and representative data set with DEP prior to revising the TIS.”
Cusson said the need to conduct additional traffic modeling and noise level analysis were two key factors in the request to extend the deadline. He said traffic modeling has since been completed, yet the noise level analysis may require additional time for their consultants to gather new data.
“We felt that an extension was appropriate,” he said in a statement to The Light.
Wendy Morill, president of local environmental group South Coast Neighbors United, said she is also in favor of the extension. She added that her group filed their own request for extension on Oct. 18, so that the public hearing process would take place outside of the holiday season.
“We felt that would be restrictive, as far as the public’s ability to participate,” she said. “During the holidays, people are just trying to do what they gotta do, and spend time with their families and meet their obligations.”
Morill’s letter was co-signed by a coalition of Massachusetts-based environmental groups, the entire New Bedford City Council, state Reps. Tony Cabral, Chris Hendricks, Paul Schmid, and state Sen. Mark Montigny.
If MassDEP approves the project proposal, public Board of Health hearings on the expansion would begin in mid-January. The Board of Health would then deliver its verdict on constructing the project in February or March, according to the New Bedford Health Department.
The proposed facility would take in up to 1,500 tons of municipal garbage per day in New Bedford’s Business Park, as well as construction debris from private haulers. It’s estimated to bring 75 jobs and $1 million-plus in annual revenue to New Bedford.
Email Adam Goldstein at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to our sponsors
Founding benefactors: Joan and Irwin Jacobs fund of the Jewish Community Foundation, Mary and Jim Ottaway
For questions about donations, contact Chrystal Walsh, director of advancement, at email@example.com.
For questions about sponsoring The Light, contact Peter Andrews, director of business development and community engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org.