Fed up with Falmouth Health Board Decisions, Transfer Station Rep Resigns

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By: Brent Runyon
Published: 12/10/10

John S. Elliott, the longtime Falmouth representative to the Upper Cape Transfer Station board of managers, resigned Wednesday, citing frustration with the Falmouth Board of Health’s lack of enforcement of the town’s trash flow control regulations.

“Right now we have a rule in place that all haulers should bring trash to the municipal facility,” Mr. Elliott said.

“However, they are not doing that. The board of health, in its wisdom, has said, ‘You don’t have to bring trash to the Upper Cape transfer station.’ ”

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For the past 6 months, the Falmouth Board of Health has grappled with how to enforce flow control, while the Cavossa Disposal Company refuses to comply.

The board of health is currently reviewing an amendment to the 19-year-old refuse regulation, which mandates flow control.

This is the mechanism by which the Upper Cape Regional Transfer Station is ensured the minimum tonnage it needs to fulfill the Upper Cape towns’ contracts with the SEMASS waste-to-energy incinerator in Rochester and with Massachusetts Coastal Railroad, which hauls the waste to SEMASS.

The amendment offers municipal waste disposal rates to commercial haulers that bring their loads to the transfer station, but also charges them a compensation fee to cover what the town pays to the railroad if they bring the trash elsewhere.

“It was just to the point that I can no longer continue on the board because I completely disagree with the board of health revisions,” Mr. Elliott said. “I’m 83 years old. How much of this crap do I need?”

Mr. Elliott announced his resignation at the monthly meeting of the board of managers on Wednesday. After the meeting, several people expressed their regrets at his resignation to him, he said, including Department of Public Works Director Raymond A. Jack, and local trash hauler Carl J. Cavossa Jr.

Mr. Cavossa and Mr. Elliott have often been at odds over the flow control regulation.

“I think Carl is a very very bright, hard-working guy, but I have to disagree with the way he does his business,” Mr. Elliott said. “Maybe things will go easier for him now that I’m gone.”

Mr. Elliott said he is also frustrated by what he said was Falmouth Health Agent David W. Carignan’s refusal to enforce the existing regulations. “The board of health agent is doing absolutely nothing about it,” he said.

Also voicing frustration with the board of health this week were members of the Falmouth Solid Waste Advisory Committee, who met Tuesday evening.

“As of now, nobody is going to the transfer station,” said committee member Daniel H. Shearer. “We’re hiring two employees out there to do next to nothing.”

Mr. Shearer said that he was frustrated because of the four major commercial trash haulers in town, only Mr. Cavossa’s company initially refused to abide by the flow control regulations.

“He has a buddy there,” Mr. Shearer said, referring to Mr. Carignan, who was fined $1,000 by the Massachusetts Board of Ethics 10 years ago for favoring Mr. Cavossa in a conflict with a contractor regarding a septic system.

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