Lawrence DPW caught illegally dumping


May-2010 Valley Patriot

By: Tom Duggan – May, 2010

A Valley Patriot spotter tipped us off last month informing us that Lawrence DPW workers were illegally dumping construction material and road waste on the banks of the Shawsheen River on Mass Avenue in North Andover. The city workers dumping the materials just one day after the Earth Day cleanup at Costello Park.

The City of Lawrence was ordered to clean up the riverbank after The Valley Patriot published a series of photos on line showing the city workers caught in the act of illegally dumping.

“Under no circumstances can material like that be placed, even temporarily, on land subject to flooding or within 100 feet or a resource ares like a wetland without the approval of the Conservation Commission,” said Tennis Lilly, Chairman of the Conservation Commission.

When The Valley Patriot spotter called a few days later to say that the city was in the process of cleaning up the dump site at the Shawsheen, a Valley Patriot reporter took it upon himself to follow city trucks to see where they were dumping additional material.

That’s when we stumbled upon another illegal dumping site within the city limits.

Just ten yards or so from the Lawrence Police Memorial at the St. Mary’s Cemetery on Tower Hill, and just yards away from the sacred ground where Lawrence’s Veterans are buried; we discovered that city workers had been dumping trash, sewage pipes, construction debris, yard waste, asphalt, curbing, rebar, and so much more.

The illegal dump site at the cemetery is gated by the city and is accessible only on foot without a key to the gate.

Lilly was surprised at the amount of garbage and other materials dumped at the cemetery when saw photos taken by The Valley Patriot. “The city may have a right to store material like construction waste temporarily on city property but at some point storing becomes dumping.” Lilly said the conservation commission would be addressing the issue at St. Mary’s Cemetery at their meeting on May 18th.

1) Lawrence DPW workers illegally dump road waste and construction debris at the banks of the shawsheen River on Mass Ave in North Andover.

2) The seal of the City of Lawrence on one of the city trucks caught dumping illegal materials at the shawsheen River.

3) The license plate of one of the Caterpillar trucks used by city workers to illegally dump at the Shawsheen River.

4) Mountains of trash on the backside of the hill in front of the Police Memorial at Duggan Way inside the cemetery. The 300 yard lot that is gated off by city workers just a few short yards from veterans graves. The pitched roof in the background of this photo shows the small building that directly abuts the Lawrence Police Memorial.

5) Trash bags filled with garbage, yard waste, and unknown environmental hazards are out in the open with piles of concrete and construction waste.

6) Lawrence DPW sewage pipes from a city road construction job. The pipes are imbedded into the ground amid a pile of waste packed down so tight it was impossible to remove any of the rocks from the pile, indicating that the waste had been at that location for a long period of time.

7) The stench from this pile of rotting garbage was so overpowering that it was difficult for our photographer to take the photo without having a physical reaction.

8) Leaves, tree branches and yard waste sits atop a mountain of asphalt with a ripped American Flag sticking out of the debris.

9) Sidewalk material and curbing from a city road construction job with rebar sticking out and mountains of asphalt from previous construction jobs in the background that have been there so long it was not possible to remove any of the items from the pile. In the background an empty chemical drum with the warning labels removed. There were several of these blue drums on the dumpsite.

10) An American flag sadly sits near the top of a pile of construction debris.

11) The Valley Patriot found so many piles of gray colored material packed onto the cemetery site that we unearthed a small patch to see the color underneath that had not been worn by weather.

12) Ground up asphalt piled more than 30 feet high.

13) More DPW sewage pipes, concrete, rebar and bricks and other hazardous materials.

14) More piles of garbage