220WVN Newsletter #204:New turf hurdles
- Mar 5, 2007Dear Wayland Voter,
State environmental officials have rejected the Wayland
Boosters' design for installing artificial turf at the high school
football field. This means delay and the possibility of added
difficulty and expense.
STATE SETS REQUIREMENTS
The Department of Environmental Protection has responded to
the Boosters' plan for the turf project by demanding a new
design, saying that drainage from the field could endanger the
town's water supply even if the grass surface remains. The
DEP's March 2 letter gives the Boosters 70 days to respond.
Environmental analyst Nancy M. White wrote that "...bacteria were
detected in the water from Happy Hollow well No. 1 in 2001, from
a source that remains unknown. The field drainage system
remains a route of transport for bacteria or chemical
disinfectants from the field to the municipal water supply."
Therefore the DEP recommends routing the drainage away from
the Happy Hollow wells, which supply up to half of the town's
The DEP ruling doesn't specifically address the potential effect of
toxic chemicals that some studies say would leach from 40,000
used tires pulverized to create the playing surface. However, it
sets high standards for treatment of runoff, rejecting the
Boosters' argument that "the proposed design will not discharge
to or affect a Critical Area." The letter requires that at least two
test pits be dug, which could be difficult because of the wetness
of the field.
Changing the drainage could be difficult and expensive. A new
pipe could in theory drain into the nearby Sudbury River, but that
would require federal permission, and the Sudbury is a
designated Wild and Scenic River. Nearby wetlands are
controlled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is unlikely
to be enthusiastic about accepting potentially toxic substances. A
large leaching field could be constructed at some distance from
the wells. Any of these possibilities could take considerable time
The Boosters met with contractors on Feb. 28 to solicit bids on
the project, which was originally estimated at about $1 million.
The bid documents set a deadline of March 12 to apply but didn't
mention the impending DEP action, which was in response to
an appeal filed by Wayland residents. The Boosters talked of
beginning the project by May and completing it in August.
Keeping that schedule would require a quick response to the
DEP, which mandates revised plans by a registered engineer,
and then a quick approval by the DEP.
The Boosters say they have raised $700,000 to accompany
$300,000 in community preservation funds approved by Town
Meeting voters last fall. A pending lawsuit seeks to stop the use
of preservation funds.
The March 2 action follows earlier findings by the DEP calling
attention to athletic fields and parking areas within the 400-foot
well-protection zone. The town has ignored a 2002 DEP
recommendation to move school bus parking from the area.
Wayland resident Harvey Wolkoff of Ropes & Gray was
appointed a pro bono lawyer to represent the School Committee
in the environmental appeal. He initially told the DEP he
represented the Wayland Conservation Commission, but after
ConCom objections sent an unusual second letter on Feb. 6.
The letter is on Ropes & Gray stationery and carries Wolkoff's
name at the top, but is unsigned. At the bottom the letter is
identified as from "Town of Wayland" as well as "Wayland School
Committee." The letter apologizes for saying earlier that Gale
Associates was the ConCom's turf consultant, when in fact Gale
was employed by the Boosters, "acting on behalf of the Wayland
The letter refers to the project as turf "replacement," not
preservation, which is a contention of the lawsuit opposing the
use of preservation funds.
-- Michael Short
WVN NEEDS MORE VOLUNTEERS
Many of you already distribute paper copies of WVN newsletters,
for which we are very grateful. For various reasons, some WVN
readers need a paper copy, and we do our best to provide one.
But we still need volunteers.
Many of you distribute them in your immediate neighborhood.
Others deliver to houses along routes they often take through
Wayland. Some mail copies. The ideal is to share the work as
widely as possible to avoid great cost or inconvenience to
Recently we lost an exemplary volunteer. A very private woman
(and we'll respect that privacy by not identifying her here)
efficiently distributed nearly three dozen copies of each WVN
newsletter until her death recently. Her list was taken up by two
other readers temporarily, but we're looking for enough
volunteers to cut the load to a very few copies for each.
Speed is NOT of the essence. If your travels don't take you near a
particular address for a few days, so be it. If a copy sits unmailed
for a day or two, fine.
If you have comments or questions, please let me know at
mmshort1@.... Or phone 358-2365.
-- Michael Short
To be sure you continue to receive WVN newsletters optimally
and in your inbox (instead of bulk or junk folders) it may help to
add to your address book or safe sender list
Thank you for reading this WVN newsletter. Please forward it to
your friends and neighbors in Wayland. If they want to receive
their own copy, they can send an email to
<mailto:waylandvoters%40yahoo.com> and they will be signed
up for the
listserv. Or, they can sign themselves up by sending a blank
>Click reply and send after receiving an e-mail confirming the
Wayland Voters Network
Michael Short, Editor