Lynn landfill cap repair project will prepare site for future redevelopment

LYNN — Work is expected to begin early next year on repairing the existing cap on the Lynn landfill to bring the site into compliance with state solid waste regulations.

City officials plan to work with National Grid, the landowners, to redevelop the site into open space once the cap repair is complete, which is expected to be in the fall of 2021.

James Cowdell, Economic Development & Industrial Corporation of Lynn (EDIC/Lynn) executive director, said the landfill is scheduled to be used for open space in the soon-to-be released Lynn Waterfront Open Space Master Plan the state is doing.

“The improvements now are being made to ensure the site is safe,” Cowdell said. “We view it as a key parcel because it’s large — it’s 14 acres and it will provide green space as development is occurring all around. The plan is to work with National Grid for Grid to make the site safe so it can be used for some type of green space or park space.”

Historically, the Lynn landfill covered approximately 50 acres located near the current Riley Way Extension and Lynn Harbor.

The project is on the repair of the cap on the 14-acre South Harbor site and construction of a final cap over approximately four additional acres that were historically landfilled, according to an Environmental Notification Form (ENF) submitted to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs by Charter Development Company, LLC, the company completing the cap repair.

The landfill has been closed since the 1980s, according to state records. The final cap installed in the early 1990s over a portion of the landfill on the South Harbor site has failed and does not comply with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) solid waste regulations, according to the ENF. The total project site is approximately 22 acres, with 18 acres of cap and four acres of appurtenant work. The site consists of four parcels, with three owned by National Grid and one owned by South Harbor Realty Trust LLC.

According to the ENF, MassDEP has notified the owner of the South Harbor site that significant cap repairs and other measures are required to bring the existing cap into compliance with solid waste regulations, but that there was no response to MassDEP’s notices.

“South Harbor Trust apparently lacks the funding to implement the extensive required corrective actions on the capped areas on the South Harbor site,” reads the ENF.

A spokesman for National Grid denied the company was responsible for the property undergoing the cap repair. But according to the city, National Grid pays taxes for the entire property.

Bruce Haskell, principal of Langdon Environmental, the consulting engineer firm for the project, said the existing cap is insufficient and has eroded off.

“It’s not stable,” Haskell said. “It’s susceptible to damage and further erosion. It could erode into the ocean. With (the) public on site, the waste is not fully covered or protected.”

Haskell declined to give an estimate on how much the cap repair project would cost and it was unclear what entity would be paying for it.

Robert Delhome, manager of Charter Development Company, could not be reached for comment, but wrote in a correspondence with Matthew A. Beaton, secretary of environmental affairs which was filed with the ENF, that the project’s “primary objective is to repair the existing failed cap while creating finished conditions that will accommodate future plans for the Lynn waterfront.”

The master plan is funded through the Gateway Cities Park Program and administered by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs in conjunction with the city of Lynn and the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Boston landscape architects Brown, Richardson + Rowe (BRR) are preparing the plan.

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