The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 25, 2002


Carlisle assessed for waste oil sent to Plaistow site

This week local television news programs focused on the protests of gas station owners who have been assessed a steep fee by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for recycling waste oil at an approved New Hampshire site. Claiming that they have followed all the rules, some station owners are refusing to pay. The Town of Carlisle, and many other towns and businesses, are also involved in this superfund issue.
Carlisle residents are encouraged to recycle their waste oil and other posted hazardous materials at the Carlisle Transfer Station. (Photo by Rik Pierce)

From 1987 to 1992 Carlisle responsibly collected waste oil at the transfer station and shipped it via a licensed carrier to the Beede Waste Oil Company site in Plaistow, New Hampshire. The site was licensed by both states, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Since then, Beede has gone under and the Plaistow site has been placed on the EPA's superfund list.

Federal superfund legislation holds the originator of the polluting material to be the responsible party. Carlisle was notified several years ago that it would be held responsible for 19,785 gallons of oil shipped to Beede. Town administrator Madonna McKenzie reviewed the town's records carefully and succeeded in getting the EPA to drop Carlisle's assessment to 16,535 gallons.

The EPA has not yet determined the cost per gallon that the responsible parties must pay, although it has proposed a fee of $6.25 per gallon to parties responsible for less than 5,000 gallons.

Although, like the gas station owners, McKenzie feels that the town is being unfairly punished for "doing everything right," Carlisle has recognized the inevitability of the matter. Carlisle and a number of other communities are currently working with TRC Companies, a Washington D.C. firm that works on superfund clean-ups, to try to negotiate a lower settlement with the EPA. TRC has suggested a fee level of $4.85 per gallon. "The EPA has agreed to meet with TRC on October 29," said McKenzie, "but not to negotiate [the fees.]"

Last May, Town Meeting appropriated $93,000 to settle the superfund issue. After Carlisle's volume assessment was lowered, the Special Town Meeting in June reduced the superfund allocation to $80,195. There is no timetable for the settlement to be finalized, says McKenzie.

According to DPW superintendent Gary Davis, Carlisle currently collects approximately 2,000 gallons of waste oil per year. The oil is transported by Clean Harbors Environmental Services to Murphy's Waste Oil in Woburn. All parties are licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and the DEP manifests for the oil shipments are in full compliance with the law — as they were in the past. Asked why the states of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, who had licensed Beede, are not bearing any financial responsibility for the superfund mess, Davis responded, "That's a very good question."

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito