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    Friday, August 12, 2022

    Gales Ferry residents have questions about proposed sediment-processing facility

    Ledyard — Residents of the town’s Gales Ferry section are mobilizing to raise questions about a plan to develop a solid waste transfer station on Route 12 that would process dredged material arriving by barge on the Thames River.

    According to a description of the proposal, the processed material would be trucked or shipped by rail to off-site destinations.

    The Gales Ferry District, a taxing district of the town, has scheduled an “emergency” community meeting on the proposal for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Ledyard Middle School.

    Cashman Dredging and Marine Contracting Co., of Quincy, Mass., would operate the proposed facility, dubbed Gales Ferry Intermodal, which has been tentatively approved by the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The facility would be developed on the site of Dow Chemical Co.’s former Allyn’s Point plant, which Gales Ferry Intermodal purchased in May for $5 million.

    Attempts to reach a Cashman Dredging representative were unsuccessful Tuesday.

    Lee Ann Anderson, president of the Gales Ferry District, said she shifted the site of Wednesday’s meeting from the Gales Ferry Community Center to the middle school at the urging of district members who anticipate a large turnout.

    “I’m printing 200 copies of the agenda,” she said Tuesday. “We’ve sent out a lot of letters.”

    The community center’s capacity is about 70 people, Anderson said.

    Gales Ferry residents’ interest in the proposal has percolated for weeks. A public meeting scheduled June 15 at the Bill Library was canceled when the turnout overwhelmed the meeting space. Cashman Dredging representatives were expected to answer questions at the meeting, which has yet to be rescheduled. 

    “We asked them (Cashman) to move that meeting but they didn’t listen to us,” Anderson said.

    Residents’ questions about the proposal have to do with the traffic it would generate, environmental concerns and the smells and noise that might emanate from the facility. The description of the proposal on file with the town states the facility “will receive sediments from dredging activities that will be delivered by barges or scows, stablized with additives mixed in the vessel and transferred to trucks or large off-load vehicles and hauled to an upland on-site stockpile and processing area.”

    The processed dredged material would be temporarily stored on site before being transferred to third-party vehicles for transport elsewhere. 

    Cashman Dredging proposes to operate the facility 24 hours a day, seven days a week during a project and to decrease operations to 12 hours a day after a project has been completed, according to the proposal.

    A resident wrote in an email that Cashman Dredging's description of the plan suggests a truck would be departing the facility every two or three minutes at peak times.

    "If trucks go south to reach (Interstate) 95, the Groton segment of Route 12 will be a long line of trucks impacting shops, shopping centers, restaurants, gas stations and car dealers," the resident wrote. "If trucks go north, schools, churches and neighborhood streets will be severely impacted. ..."

    b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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