Trash, debris surfaces as Rockland street ice melts, indicating not just snow gets dumped into harbor
ROCKLAND – Well into June, a frozen mound of dirt remains, long after the last of an estimated 20-foot-tall mountain of city-plowed snow began to melt. In its wake, the designated snow-dumping area of the Rockland Transfer Station, now strewn with trash, confirmed a long-time assumption by former City Council member Louise MacLellan-Ruf.
For years, MacLellan-Ruf lobbied against the dumping of plowed snow off of the Municipal Fish Pier, citing that more than just pure snow was being pushed into the ocean.
At the time city officials maintained that only snow was dumped, she said this week. It was only public entities allowed to dump that snow. And that everything was fine.
How, she asked, was that possible when simply shoveling a driveway turns up sand, salt, and small items of refuse?
Three years after the September 10, 2014 council vote that amended the ordinance in MacLellan-Ruf’s favor, the city seeks price estimates for possible dredging in the same area around the Fish Pier where decades of winter street debris was pushed.
One price estimate proposed for the biological study required by the Army Corps of Engineers, along with offshore disposal, if approved, is about $350,000, according to Harbor Master Matt Ripley.
The goal of dredging is to create more space for more boats, which would allow use of the full length of the pier, equaling more vessels and more cost share, he said during a February Harbor Management Commission meeting.
Back on land, MacLellan-Ruf is claiming vindication for her lobbying.
On Tuesday, June 12, MacLellan-Ruf inspected the dumping area at the transfer station. Three seasons of unloading at this site have left the ground solid from the excess sand and salt. A trash bag, a piece of road curb, a pair of underwear, and bits of car parts lay on a field now strewn with Nips bottles and other items.
“I am very pleased,” she said.
MacLellan-Ruf said that working with the City on this issue was challenging. Though only public entities were allowed to dump the snow into the harbor, MacLellan-Ruf claimed knowledge of private dumpers, as well.
“When I’d asked to see the security cameras of those occurrences, the cameras for those days would be mysteriously out of order,” she said.
Now, disposable coffee lids on land are her proof of what, until four years ago, may have also accumulated below the pier.
Reach Sarah Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org