Members of the working group looking into possible illegal and health-related issues swirling around activities of Ellingwood Construction at its site in north Framingham reported limited progress in resolving a myriad of issues before the Board of Selectmen Tuesday night.
Board of Health Director Ethan Mascoop told Selectmen the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has not adequately addressed some of the concerns of the working group and until they get some answers, there is very little the Board of Health can do to alleviate the situation.
But Health Board member Mike Hugo assured the selectmen the Board of Health will work on the issues once it is clear what DEP can and will do. “DEP can only do this much,” said Hugo, holding his outstretched hand about waist high. “The town wants this much,” as he raised his other hand over his head. Hugo then said the Health Board will take over where DEP’s actions stop and work to resolve all the issues the town has with the Ellingwood site.
Framingham’s Health Board has joint jurisdiction with DEP on the Ellingwood matter but has to play a secondary role because as a state agency, DEP calls the shots.
The central issue center around what DEP allows Ellingwood to bring onto the property.
According to a DEP issued Determination of Need, Ellingwood may accept clean, uncontaminated asphalt, brick and concrete at its site for eventual processing for customers.
Neighbors living close to the site maintain that Ellingwood’s operation may pose a serious health threat. They say processing asphalt, concrete and brink causes hazardous dust, unwelcome noise from heavy machinery, unlawful dump truck traffic on residential roads and violations of various zoning laws.
To combat the dust and noise situations, DEP ordered Ellingwood last fall to build a protective berm to shield other property owners in the area. Questions arose whether Ellingwood has actually built a berm and members of the working group were asked to look into the matter.
A cease and desist order generated last month only covers Ellingwood’s activities outside its property. Apparently, Ellingwood was dumping soil and possibly other construction materials on land the company did not own and which was designated for a planned unit development many years ago.
Selectmen asked the working group to return and present an update on progress at the Feb. 28 meeting.