Questions and Answer about DPW “fill” available for public taking

Above: Residents have been wondering about materials transferred out of the Southborough Transfer Station for private use. The DPW Superintendent provided some answers. (photo by Beth Melo)

Last week there was chatter on Facebook “fill” being moved in dump trucks from the Transfer Station to a private parcel. There were questions, criticisms and second-hand explanations. I reached out to DPW Superintendent Karen Galligan for an explanation.

Galligan confirmed some details and clarified some others. The fill is not loam, sand or gravel. It is un-graded fill with some “decent sized” rocks/boulders in it. She described it as “spoils (leftovers) that we have accumulated through different work projects over the years, i.e. water breaks, hydrant repairs, drain installations, field work, building walls, etc.”

It is available to the public. You need to schedule a time, sign a waiver, and bring your own truck for hauling it away. But the DPW will load the fill. To inquire about scheduling, you can call the DPW at 508-485-1210 weekdays 8:00 am – 4:00 pm. 

Galligan added that just because fill comes from the DPW, it doesn’t mean users may use it inappropriately. “No permissions are implied with the material.”

On Facebook, a commenter pointed out that there is a Town bylaw related to earth removal that requires a permit be issued by the Select Board. However, there are some exceptions.

The bylaw states:

The filling or removal of materials consisting of more than 400 cubic yards or stockpiling of materials consisting of more than 100 cubic yards of sand, gravel, stone, soil, loam, sod, fill and mineral products to or from a lot or parcel not in public use shall require an earth removal permit granted by the Select Board

That is followed by a list of exceptions to the requirement.

I’m no legal expert so I can’t assert whether or not a permit was required in this instance. First, I’m not clear on what the legal phrase “not in public use” covers. (Officials might argue that the DPW’s parcel within the Transfer Station is in public use.) Second, I don’t know enough about the activity on the other end (purportedly 1 Sear Road) to know if it was covered by one of the listed exceptions. 

You can read the full bylaw here.

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

This isn’t necessarily related… but what about the wood pallets at the transfer station? Are those in use by the transfer station, or are they available to take? I love doing (amateur) woodworking projects with reclaimed wood like that. A lot less stressful working with reclaimed wood like that compared to spending half my paycheck at a hardware store!

  • © 2024 — All rights reserved.