Governor signs off on measure easing controversy over solid waste facilities

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PROVIDENCE – The governor has signed a bill modifying the definition of a construction and demolition (C&D) debris processing facility in order to protect the quality of life in residential areas and bring facilities treating less than 150 tons of debris per day into line with other plants.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee penned the new law (2014-H 8117A, 2014-S 2441A), sponsored by Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence) and Sen. Daniel Da Ponte (D-Dist. 14, East Providence), which ensures that every facility must obtain a license, regardless of the amount of debris it receives and processes.

Currently, a facility processing less than 150 tons per day is exempt from the need to obtain a license. The new law will also bring smaller facilities in line with the same zoning and Department of Environmental Management (DEM) guidelines that larger facilities must follow. It states that all facilities must conduct all processing operations indoors if they are located within a 1,000-foot radius of a residential zone district.

The Pond View solid waste management facility has long been the subject of controversy among Rumford area residents. After years of enduring traffic, noise and dust from the plant, neighbors of the Dexter Street facility said DEM’s decision to increase the amount of material Pond View could process to 1,500 tons per day largely exacerbated issues stemming from its operation. Although the facility shut down completely in 2013, the landlord of the property re-opened it with a 50-ton-per-day limit.

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