WINTHROP – Increased truck traffic headed to Deer Island as part of a new Massachusetts Water Resources Authority program is certain to be one of the topics when the MWRA and a citizen action group called Winthrop Concerned Citizens meet at the facility on Oct. 22 at 7 pm.
Spearheaded by Point Shirley resident Dawn Manning, the group doesn’t have a problem with the new pilot program for co-digestion, it is concerned about the increase in truck traffic that would be coming from the East Boston direction, down Main Street, Winthrop Market Place, past the Dean Winthrop House, down Veteran’s Road, on to Shirley Street and on to the island. The trucks would be filled with a slurry made from restaurant and institutional food waste. Once at the facility the slurry will be used in one of the digesters to be converted to energy through anaerobic digestion.
There is a multi-million pier at Deer Island and the group will be pushing to have the materials brought to the island via a barge. It would come from Charlestown. The MWRA is seeking another $1.7 million in funds so it can bid on barges. Waste Management has the contract for trucking.
Group member Kathleen Cappuccio, whose mother, Peg Riley years ago was an MWRA board member representing Winthrop, said MWRA Executive Director Fred Laskey and State Rep. Robert DeLeo are expected the be at the meeting. She added that the two of them agreed that more work had to be done. There have been no environmental, traffic, or air pollution impact reports.
“The pilot program was to commence on June 1 but we were able to stop that,” Cappuccio said.
During the Oct. 22 meeting, Cappuccio said the MWRA will give an update on co-digestion, barging, other projects and programs, discussion of an additional fishing pier and a question and answer period. A meeting held by Winthrop Concerned Citizens before the MWRA Fall meeting drew hundreds of people, Cappuccio said, adding they were not hearing much from the Town Council because the MWRA, being an autonomous agency does not have to inform the town of what it is doing. As a result, the town knew nothing about the trucking of slurry until Manning got involved. The current Winthrop representative on the MWRA Board of Directors is Fire Chief Paul Flanagan.
“There’s no question in my mind, flat out, that if we didn’t get together, all these residents, we’d have all these trucks coming through town. To me it’s such a testament when residents get together and speak up. Your voices will be heard,” Cappuccio said. “We were able to stop this program from starting.”