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Incident is investigated at landfill

Casella described Monday’s incident as a gas buildup that blew manhole covers near the landfill. File photo. (click for larger version)
September 15, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Investigators are trying to determine the cause of a malfunction at the Southbridge Recycling and Disposal Park Monday.

Firefighters responded to a report of an incident at 7:30 a.m. at the landfill on Barefoot Road, and eventually determined the gas collection system had failed, according to Vermont-based Casella Waste Systems spokesman Joseph Fusco, whose company operates the town-owned site. The incident damaged the flare system that releases the gas, specifically methane, according to Fusco. The methane \caused several manhole covers to blow from their placements, Fusco said.

"We had a pressure buildup in the gas collection system. That's what we know so far," Fusco said.

Nobody was injured, according to Fire Chief Richard Cisela, who responded to the incident.

"We went up there and made the system safe," he said.

Casella notified the state Department of Environmental Protection at 9:40 a.m., according to spokesman Joseph Ferson.

"All the safety features … functioned as they should. No gas or chemical releases occurred," Ferson said. "Later that day, the gas collection system — around 1:30 p.m. — was restarted using a backup flare."

Work will now turn toward repairing the site and obtaining a more detailed account of what exactly occurred. Ferson said a replacement flare was delivered to the site Tuesday, and would be installed by the end of the day Wednesday. Fusco appeared to minimize the damage.

"We just have to do some repairs to some pipes and a flare," he said.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of cummunity news.

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