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220WVN Newsletter #204:New turf hurdles

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  • waylandvoters1
    Mar 5, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      Dear 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.


      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
      drinking water.

      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
      and money.

      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
      School Committee."

      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


      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.

      Many thanks.

      -- Michael Short
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      Wayland Voters Network
      Michael Short, Editor