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Andover reckons with past pollution as landfill’s hazardous waste cleanup begins

July 24, 2019

Julie Trude remembers watching deer graze on the opposite side of the fence that separated a shuttered landfill from the park in Andover where she would take her children to play. When her son got a little older, his school science class did a cleanup project in Coon Creek, just north of the site. “Then we learned that probably wasn’t a good idea,” Trude said Tuesday as she stood alongside lawmakers and state officials to mark a major hazardous waste cleanup project at the closed Waste Disposal Engineering landfill. Trude, now Andover’s mayor, has learned a lot about the landfill in subsequent years. She said monitoring wells have shown no signs of anything hazardous in the creek. Harmful chemicals haven’t reached city or private drinking water wells, either, she said. Still, Trude will feel a lot better at the end of this year, when all the hazardous waste — paint sludge, solvents, oil — that was dumped in a pit on the site in the early 1970s is expected to be removed. It comes as part of a $22 million project funded through state bonds. The state allowed hazardous wastes to be dumped at the landfill between 1972 and 1974. Back then, the area was known as Grow Township and “was out in the middle of nowhere,” Trude said. The village of Andover wasn’t established until 1972. The landfill closed a decade later.

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