‘Don’t Dump on Us’ task force wants neighbors’ help in fight over trash transfer facility in South Boston

Members of the “Don’t Dump on Us” task force have asked the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association to support their fight against the siting of a trash transfer facility in South Boston. “We need as many voices as we can to fight this. We want to make sure this doesn’t sneak up on us before it’s too late,” Marion Kaiser told the association at its monthly meeting on Monday night.

The civic association did not vote on the task force’s appeal. President Eileen Boyle said it was important for both sides of the argument to be presented and that the association would decide only after hearing from Celtic Recycling, which is proposing to set up the facility. The association had reached out to George O’Toole of the Celtic firm to attend Monday’s meeting, but to no avail.

The task force represents the Newmarket Business Association, a half dozen neighborhood and civic associations, including McCormack, Andrew Square, and West Broadway, and the New Boston Food Market, the only other tenant located at Widett Circle off Interstate 93 directly abutting the proposed site.

New Boston houses more than 20 food production businesses, including Kaiser’s Aquanor Marketing Inc., and employs 700 workers, many of whom could lose their jobs if Celtic Recycling’s facility becomes a reality, they say.

The proposed trash transfer station would be located in a former cold storage facility only accessible through New Boston Food Market. Celtic’ Recycling founder and CEO Susie Chin told the Reporter in July that the facility would not interfere with the food businesses. The proposed $10 million, state-of-the-art project would process 1,500 tons of construction and demolition debris daily, as well as single stream recycling of cardboard, newspapers, cans, and bottles within a 55,000 square-foot former blast freezing facility.

George Joice, a member of the civic association who retired after spending 35 years in the solid waste business, said during the task force’s presentation that the transfer facility proposal was a bad idea. “This is a horrible site. I don’t think this is right,” he said, pointing to what he called an increase in the hundreds of trucks in that area and noting that the facility would receive waste from across the eastern part of the state.

Widett Circle’s proximity to major roadways, railways, shipping ports, and the airport makes it an enticing piece of real estate. Its 16-plus acres, along with neighboring parcels, including a Boston Transit Department tow lot, have been floated as a potential site for a 2024 Olympic event facility.

At-Large City Councillor Michelle Wu, who attended the meeting on Monday, pledged to prevent the facility from appearing in front of the city council without advance notice – something that Kaiser and other task force members were concerned about after the state allowed the project to proceed without an environmental study last spring. Celtic Recycling must secure support from the city in order to move forward and has previously received backing from a number of elected officials, including Council President Bill Linehan and Mayor Marty Walsh when he was a state representative. Councilor Tito Jackson told the Reporter in July that he would vote against the facility if it is brought to a vote in the council.