MWRA Proposes Program for Making Food Waste into Gas Could Mean Added Truck Traffic on Local Streets

Friday, February 7, 2014
By Cary Shuman
Point Shirley resident Dawn Manning speaks about the MWRA food waste pilot program at the Town Council meeting Tuesday night. At right are Deer Island Treatment Plant Director Daniel K. O’Brien and MWRA Executive Director Frederick Laskey.

Point Shirley resident Dawn
Manning speaks about the
MWRA food waste pilot
program at the Town Council
meeting Tuesday night. At
right are Deer Island Treatment
Plant Director Daniel K.
O’Brien and MWRA Executive
Director Frederick Laskey.

MWRA officials presented an outline of the proposed pilot program for food waste treatment and conversion to methane gas for use on Deer Island.

Frederick Laskey, executive director of the MWRA, Daniel K. O’Brien, director of the Deer Island Treatment Plant, and David F. Duest, manager of process control, made their presentation at the Town Council meeting Tuesday night.

Citizens, including a contingent from Winthrop’s Point Shirley, expressed opposition to any increased trucking through Winthrop to Deer Island, citing the disruption and safety concerns with the present volume and reasoning that an increased number of trucks will be more burdensome.

Some in the audience, including Point Shirley resident Dawn Manning, said that their concerns were not addressed adequately in the past.

Laskey said that the MWRA currently hosts periodic meetings with citizens in the Hough’s Neck area of Quincy to address concerns related to the MWRA and would be glad to host similar meetings with Winthrop residents and discuss the pilot program and other issues relating to Deer Island.

Town Council President Peter Gill said Town Council members and Winthrop’s public safety officials, including Fire Chief Paul Flanagan, who is a member of the MWRA Advisory Board, and Police Chief Terence Delehanty, who were present at Tuesday’s meeting, will be addressing the safety issues related to the food waste pilot program.

“Well be looking at stronger enforcement systems for current and future agreements with the MWRA, including this pilot program,” said Gill. “Any deliberations on these matters will be conducted with the best interest of the citizens of Winthrop in mind. If the pilot program should expand, the MWRA will explore barging for transportation instead of trucking.”

One of the speakers expressing opposition to increased trucking through the town was Frank Costantino of the Winthrop Improvement and Historical Association, who said a larger number of trucks passing through town would be harmful to the structure of the historic Deane Winthrop House.

Following the meeting Dawn Manning expressed further concern about the safety of Point Shirley residents.

“I would like to see Deer Island or the MWRA come up with a Safety Operation Plan (SOP) and an evacuation plan for the Point Shirley residents in the event of a emergency such as a chemical spill,” said Manning. “There is one route in and one route out of the Point. I would like to see Town Council start a committee to address our concerns [in relation to Deer Island and this pilot program]. I am against this pilot program and more trucks coming through Winthrop and in and out of Point Shirley. We’ve had enough and it’s time for the MWRA to start using that pier they built.”

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