- The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is taking a harder line with Casella over its potential role in water contamination in Charlton, MA coming from the company's Southbridge landfill.
- After a May 24 meeting in which representatives from Casella maintained the company was not responsible for contaminating residential well water with 1,4 dioxane, DEP is now requiring the company to submit an immediate response action plan by July 23 and every 60 days going forward.
- Last fall, 1,4 dioxane was found in 21 Charlton wells - though not all exceeded state regulations. Casella is currently providing bottled water to 29 homes and filtration systems to two homes.
While the state has officially named Casella a "potential responsible party" for the contamination, the company continues to disagree with that claim. It points to recent results showing that only two of 48 wells tested in Charlton were found to be contaminated. Yet residents have been vocally skeptical of the company's claims.
This issue is playing out as Casella seeks to expand the 51-acre Southbridge landfill, the largest in the state. Officials have previously projected that it could reach capacity by the end of 2017. The company has proposed a lateral expansion and a new disposal area that could extend the landfill's capacity for 11 more years.
In an effort to make their case, Casella recently launched a new website to inform residents about how the landfill works and how it helps the community. According to the website, Casella provided more than $4 million to the town last year through royalties, curbside collection and other benefits. Southbridge's town manager has said they should aim to reduce their financial dependency on the company over time.