It’s something they did not want to hear, but City Councilor Richard Conti told a crowd of Ward 4 residents that trucks are the only feasible way to bring in fill to cap about eight acres in the privately owned Attleboro Landfill off Peckham Street.
His comment came during a landfill forum Wednesday after outlining the problems with using rail to deliver material to the site.
Capping the landfill is mandated by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
The lack of a direct rail link to the dump, logistical problems with delivering fill to the site from multiple locations over tracks owned by multiple parties and a lack of railroads near sources of fill are all factors that would make a “rail option” almost three times more costly than trucks, would require more fill and would take more time to complete.
The increased cost of transportation makes it unlikely that EndCap Technology, which has contracted with Attleboro Landfill to do the job, would get the soil and debris removal customers it needs for the job, when other firms would offer cheaper truck transportation.
Conti used information in a letter provided by EndCap to make his argument.
The letter, written by EndCap attorney Richard Nylen, said the cost of rail is about 2 1/2 times more than trucking, making rail an economic impossibility.
The message is clear, Conti said.
“The rail option is not a good option, and we’re going to wind up with trucks at some point,” he said. “That’s what I believe.”
He suggested the key to making the project more palatable is to find a way to reduce the amount of fill needed to finance the project or find other funding for the job.
That suggestion echoes a City Council resolution written by Walter Thibodeau and Frank Cook and passed unanimously on Tuesday which calls for EndCap “to develop an alternative plan which reduces the amount of fill required to cap the site.”
The resolution also suggested that rail could be one way to do that.
EndCap estimates it needs to bring in 650,000 cubic yards of waste, made up of construction and demolition debris, street sweepings and material from catch basins, to pay for the $3 million to $5 million job and make it profitable.
Transporting that amount of material is estimated to take at least 35 trucks a day, six-days-a-week for at least three years, which has neighborhoods along the route up in arms.
If Attleboro Landfill Inc., owned by Attleboro resident Al Dumont, could pay for the job up front, the material needed would be drastically reduced, as would the trucking and length of the project, Conti said.
An official from DEP estimated that the eight to 10 acre project needs only about 30,000 cubic yards of fill to be capped, or 5 percent of what EndCap needs for the job, he said.
The project has left residents seething and a number of city officials upset with each other.
Cook was one of three who quietly walked out of the Wednesday session called by Ward 4 Councilor Jonathan Weydt to disseminate facts about the project.
Cook said he left because some of what was being said were not facts. He specified references to the fill material as “garbage” as one example.