ConCom Addresses Snow Plowed Into Lake Quannapowitt

07Feb08

Commission satisfied with new arrangement

The issue of snow being plowed into Wakefield’s Lake Quannapowitt and surrounding wetlands from the parking lots adjacent to the two Comverse office buildings at the head of the Lake appears to have been resolved to the satisfaction of Conservation Agent Elaine Vreeland and the Wakefield Conservation Commission.

Vreeland told the Commission last night that she had met on site with the property manager and the plowing contractor. They agreed, Vreeland said, that they would no longer push snow into the Lake or to the edges of the parking lots which are all surrounded by wetlands. They will instead close off a little-used parking area on the east side of the older office building and pile the snow in the center of that unused lot.

The issue first came to light in mid-January. The Wakefield Daily Item reported that parking lot snow from two December storms had been deposited in the lake and into the wetland areas along the parking lot perimeters. The Item published photographs of a large snow pile sitting partially on the frozen Lake as well as snow pushed well into the wetland areas from the parking lots.
Plowed snow dumped in the lake
As noted in the January 17 Daily Item story, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) snow removal and storage guidelines prohibit placing plowed snow from parking lots and roadways into bodies of water. “Collected snow that is contaminated with road salt, sand, litter, and automotive pollutants such as oil,” should not be dumped in any water body, the DEP guidelines state, “including rivers, the ocean, reservoirs, ponds or wetlands.”

Vreeland said that she was told by the property manager that a new plowing contractor had been hired who now understood that plowing snow into the Lake was not allowed, but had not realized that the parking areas were surrounded by wetlands.

Vreeland said that she provided the contractor and property manager with copies of the DEP guidelines and stressed to them that snow should not be plowed into any resource area, including the forested wetland between the Comverse building and the Route 128 Rotary.

“They felt very badly about it,” Vreeland said, “and wished to convey their apologies and to let it be known that it is their intention to be environmentally responsible citizens around the Lake.”

Vreeland said that she expected things to be better and would monitor the situation.

In other business, the Commission discussed a request from the Crystal Community Club on Preston Street for a Certificate of Compliance for some paving and landscaping work that had been done behind the building.

Vreeland said that she had made a site visit earlier in the day and indicated that there were still outstanding issues that needed to be corrected before a Certificate of Compliance could be issued. The Commission agreed, and Vreeland said that she would contact a representative of the club and go over what they still need to do.

The Commission also discussed matters related to Irving Oil. The Commission wants to make sure that Irving puts in place an adequate monitoring program to measure any contamination that may occur in the future from leaks and/or spills on the site. The Commissioners indicated that they were being especially vigilant because of the gas station’s close proximity to wetlands.

The Commission briefly opened two scheduled hearings related to the National Development project on the Wakefield-Lynnfield line, and then continued the hearings to March 5.

The Commission had expected to have a consultant on board to assist both towns with issues related to the project, but because of an unforeseen delay in retaining a consultant, the Commission continued the hearings to the later date.

National Development of Newton is proposing to develop a mixed use retail, office and residential village on the border of Lynnfield and Wakefield, on a portion of the present Colonial Golf Course.

Ted Nye, representing National Development, was present and agreed to the postponements.

[This story originally appeared in the January 7, 2008 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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