Wednesday, March 09, 2005

New England Garbage

I now leave South Dakota and move to Western Massachusetts with this story. In the intervening years, since I packed up the wagon and headed east with the wife and baby, 2 dogs and a hamster the world of trash, contamination, acid rain, corporate and government greed. definitely has grown. The nay Sayers and whistleblowers were right and we were killing our children and ourselves. It was a time of much needed change. The year is about 1980. I am now a contractor and have to haul things to the town dump, now and then. This one is not called the town dump but rather it has a real name being named after an adjoining road and is called “A Landfill” not a dump. “ The Senator Edward Kennedy Landfill” is the new name. Those New Englanders!! Right away I find that the landfill is full but it is being extended by the state so that it can grow higher and higher and because of new state and federal regulations there are few dumpsites oops landfill sites available. The problem being, our site sits right on the edge of Interstate 90, a.k.a. The Massachusetts Turnpike, a.k.a. The Main street of Massachusetts. Imagine how those government people felt when they drove by and saw all the papers blowing around and dirtying up Main Street. Of course you must remember that these will be the same people that will bring you, something called, “The Big Dig” in the future. “ The infamous Massachusetts Turnpike Authority”. [to be a source of material for thousands of more bloggers, including this author] I can’t stop now as my fingers are trying to explode. I will try and contain myself but I must tell you that the MTA will come to have its own little dumpsite problems and right here in our neighborhood. A dumpsite where thousands of animal carcasses, from hit-and-run accidents on the turnpike, are dumped without even a final word or and earthen covering. Others, where all manner of construction debris, including hazardous waste, are hidden from the public view. Enough about that as I move forward….. Finally the town oops City finds a good location and pays about 3 million for the big ravine. Now you can no longer just dump on the ground but you need to be dumping on a liner and you must collect all of the runoff because it is now hazardous waste and will head for the aquifer it you don’t. The City lines its new 3 million dollar “Landfill” which is now a 5 million dollar “landfill,” with water retention, testing wells, etc. etc. etc. The state says, “sorry but were not going to approve your new landfill and you can’t use It.” and what is more, they acknowledge that they never will approve it. It’s gone and it never even had a proper name. Back at the old landfill it is business as usual, growing taller and taller. Now it is made into a residential refuse landfill only, no commercial dumping, unless you happen to have a six-pack of beer in your truck. Well eventually the state shuts the old, ever growing, landfill down. Orders the City to cap it over and to take care of the now, rapidly expanding methane, bubbling out of the earth and to take their garbage to commercial dumpsites. I think Dr. Suess, who was our neighbor, wrote about all of this sometime ago. Reminds me of the Larax. Now all rubbish is trucked out of the city and we have developed into recycling fools. We have green bins for glass and cans and blue bins for paper, or is it blue for glass and green for paper? Every week the garbage trucks come and every 2 weeks the recycling trucks come. We have special pickup days for leaves where everything is in special digestible paper bags, special days to pickup Christmas Trees [if you can get them out of the snow banks], special days to haul your oil, batteries, and other household waste to collection points. $10 buys you a sticker to put on your refrigerator for pickup and I think computers cost $5 each. A few months age we all got issued our very own wheeled and serialized rubbish container. Every week a special truck comes around and dumps these wheeled containers so long as they are placed properly along the road. If you have too much garbage and leave a bag or two along side no one will pick those up and someone writes you a ticket [a big yellow one] and hangs it on your new dumpster. It all has to be in the big, new, serialized container. If you don’t like your container you can get a smaller one or a bigger one but you still have to put all of your rubbish in the new, serialized container and the container has to be exactly where the hydraulic arm can reach it or else you get a big, yellow ticket. What happens to all of the tires, tree stumps and tickets? I don’t think they sell stickers for those. There is just no one to leave a six-pack of beer with anymore. Maybe if I leave a six-pack or two with the secretary for the Health Department Director, she will ask the Director to have the driver of the new truck, with the hydraulic arm, to pickup up my tree stumps and tires. You Think? God I miss Shorty and his brother and the white rack with the three beat up silver cans.

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