We would like to take this opportunity to thank Senators Cindy Friedman and Bruce Tarr and Representatives Richard Haggerty, David Robertson, and Kenneth Gordon for their continued support in the Woburn Neighborhood Association’s objection to the Ledges Project. The State Delegation from Woburn and Wilmington sent a joint letter to the Mass Department of Environmental Protection outlining their objections to the project and asking them to take immediate action. The text of the letter is below.
Michael L Raymond, Chairman
Woburn Neighborhood Association
Office of Heidi Zisch
Mass DEP 205B Lowell St
Wilmington, MA 01887
We write to you with great concern about the environmental impact regarding the “Ledges” project located at 1042 Main Street in Woburn, MA, and the widespread effects it will have on both the local and regional human and animal populations, forest ecosystem, and groundwater runoff. While we support accessible and affordable housing opportunities in the greater Boston area, the impact the proposed project has on the surrounding neighborhoods in terms of dust, noise, and construction on an environmentally damaged plot leads us to believe that such a project’s negatives far outweigh any perceived benefits. We believe that MassDEP would likely share in our and our constituents justified concerns,
Firstly, with 420,000 cubic yards of soil set to be removed, the project not only radically alters the community but also exposes all residents to dust and debris as a result of the extensive blasting. Of particular concern to us is the great amount of Silica dust that will be created. As we are sure you know, silica contributes to increased risks of a myriad of cancers, a heightened risk of OCPD, and is the direct cause of silicosis. These risks are especially concerning due to the presence of young children and the elderly nearby, living in homes not typically insulated against such fine particle matter. Even if such particles do not enter the homes and business of residents, fine particles that land on cars, playsets, and pathways will be directly stirred up and breathed by thousands of people. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends that workers who deal with silica change their clothes and park their vehicle in sheltered areas at the worksite, noting that fallen particles on clothes and cars still raise the level for illness. The residents of Woburn and Wilmington do not have this luxury, and instead are forced to be exposed to contaminates without any choice but to abandon their homes. This is egregious.
Secondly, we wish MassDEP to address the radical changes such a development will have on the water percolation and runoff, especially with respect to the change in how the plume of the Olin Chemical site has continuously spread. As we are sure you are aware the chemicals leaked from the Olin Chemical property have created a larger plume than previously expected, With the removal of vegetation, top soil, and the creation of thousands of square feet of non-permeable surface we are concerned with the exacerbation that concentrated percolation and drainage will have in extending the plume. By creating non-permeable surfaces and removing topsoil storm-water run off potentially increase in concentration, pushing chemicals spreading through the bedroom even further rather than being held and released more slowly as the current topography of the site allows. As you are also aware, the Wilmington area cancer study is still an ongoing matter, and evidence suggests a correlation between the appearance of rare cancers and the chemicals present in the Woburn/Wilmington watershed.
Thirdly, our delegation is concerned about the noise and light pollution on nearby residents. While the area is developed, the lowering of the elevation of the hill and the removal of the trees changes the dynamic of the light and noise pollution tremendously. It is no secret that studies show that exposure to light and sound during evening hours leads to higher rates of stress, depression, anxiety, and more in children. The size and scope of a project that radically alters the landscape will decrease the health of the population, decrease the values of existing property, and compound an already tenuous public health picture.
As the project is moving forward, urgent action is greatly needed. We ask that you, within your powers, take into account our objections with the project so that the good people of Woburn and Wilmington do not lose their health, homes, or happiness. As always, if you have any questions on the above points, the project in general, or our other numerous concerns please do not hesitate to reach out to our respective offices.
Representative David Robertson
Representative Richard Haggerty
Representative Kenneth Gordon
Senator Bruce Tarr
Senator Cindy Friedman
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