Friday, August 15, 2008
Shorts from the ConsCom, July 31
•Blasting cleanup. The Conservation Commission (ConsCom) on July 31 approved an Amended Order of Conditions for remediation of a blasting error that had occurred last April at a Cross Street construction site owned by Jonathan Bohs. According to Conservation Administrator, Sylvia Willard, the problem had arisen when contractors, in the course of building a driveway and grading for utilities, encountered ledge and used explosives without installing the required blasting nets. That improper technique had sent debris and large rocks into an intermittent stream, a Bordering Vegetated Wetland (BVW) and its 100-foot buffer zone. The resulting April 19 ConsCom Enforcement Order had brought the owner and the blasting company before the commission on April 24, at which time the parties had agreed to submit a restitution plan. This was the amended order offered by Stamski & McNary engineer George Dimakarakos at the July session.
The engineer and blasting operator, Michael Sullivan, appeared quite sanguine about their proposed solution. Indicating that most of the debris was in the buffer zone and could be moved with relative ease, the engineer did concede that the large rocks and other material in the resource area would require careful handling. When Willard expressed particular concern about the debris in the intermittent stream, which was causing a buildup of silt downstream in a portion of the BVW, Dimakarakos assured her that it would be removed by hand.
Replying to Commissioner Tricia Smith’s expressed apprehension about removal of boulders from the BVW and its immediate environs, Sullivan said he was confident that it could be accomplished by “plucking the large ones out with a chain.” To Commissioner Jennifer Bush’s question as to how long a job they were talking about, he said, “It would be a one day job.” As for remedial landscaping, Smith advised, “Just naturalize it.” The presenters’ plan was accepted, but with the proviso that they document each step as the work is being done, including photographs.
•400 Rutland Street. An application for replacement of a failed septic system was heard toward the end of the session. As described by wetland engineer Jeff Hannaford, the project will require that all work take place in the buffer zone of the surrounding wetlands. All attempts to find a better site having failed, he proposed a state-approved alternative technology septic system that could be sited within 56 feet of the wetland at the nearest edge.
A major difficulty had proved to be the location of an access route wide enough for the heavy equipment to be brought in, a dilemma that was finessed by bringing it over a previously filled berm, employing a series of activities designed to cause minimum disturbance to sensitive areas. Hannaford provided a complicated construction sequence to do the job. The public hearing was closed with conditioning that referenced that sequence and an anticipated variance from the Board of Health. ∆
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