SOUTHBRIDGE, MA—On February 13, NELC Attorney Kevin Budris sent formal notice of NELC’s intent to file suit against Casella Waste Systems, Inc., Southbridge Recycling & Disposal Park, Inc., and the Town of Southbridge under the federal Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The notice alleges that a 95-acre landfill owned by the town and operated by the companies is contaminating drinking water and a nearby stream and wetlands.

For more than a decade, the landfill has been leaching toxic pollutants into ground- water—water beneath the land’s surface that flows through soil, sand, gravel, and cracks in the granite bedrock of the area. These same pollutants—primarily lead, suspected carcinogen 1,4-dioxane, and highly toxic chlorinated volatile organic compounds—have also migrated into the groundwater-fed drinking water wells in nearby Charlton and Sturbridge.

The notice, sent on behalf of Toxics Action Center and Environment Massachusetts, alleges that the landfill’s discharges of these pollutants, and their presence in local drinking water, pose an imminent and substantial endangerment to health and the environment. The “citizen suit” provision of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act authorizes lawsuits to stop such endangerments.

The notice also alleges that the landfill is discharging lead, 1,4-dioxane, iron, copper, manganese, barium, and other pollutants into nearby wetlands and into McKinstry Brook, in violation of the Clean Water Act.

“Contamination of these wetlands is unacceptable,” said Environment Massachusetts Director Ben Hellerstein. “Wetlands play an integral role in Massachusetts waterways, and must be protected.”