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Environmental agency halts park improvements

The state Department of Environmental Protection has halted work on park improvements near Broad Meadows Marsh in Quincy, saying the material used to create the recreational facilities was inappropriate for the site.

“We’re still looking at what comes next,” said Ed Coletta, a spokesman for the state agency, noting that the stoppage resulted from an oral request. A written order had not been produced as of late last week.

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Coletta would not specify what prohibited materials were being used.

However, Quincy’s city solicitor, Jim Timmins, said the problems mainly had to do with how the city’s parks department stabilized enbankments in the project.

According to Coletta, the state agency started looking into the site at the request of a local resident, and questions soon arose about some of the material being used to create the park.

Employees of Quincy’s Department of Public Works said the work was being performed by the Park and Forestry Department. The director of the park department, Christopher Cassani, did not return phone calls requesting a comment.

Timmins said city employees had undertaken work to create grassland after the US Army Corps of Engineers, which was restoring the marsh, ran out of money.

Under the permit issued to the Army Corps, city employees resurfaced the area and started seeding, using materials from the DPW’s rear yard.

Yet before the grass could take hold, rain ruined some of the banks that had been created.

“We had silt running down what was supposed to be roadways and pathways,” Timmins said.

Park employees subsequently decided to use tailings from the rear yard — often consisting of rocks, twigs, and sometimes plastic material that was mixed in with the yard waste — to stabilize the banks.

“They plucked out as much of the plastic as they could and put the tailings in and then put soil on top of it,” Timmins said.

However, the procedure was against environmental protection laws, and Quincy has been ordered to remove the tailings and replace them with organic matter, Timmins said.

Employees plan to regrade the area to ease runoff problems. But before that process can begin, the park department will have to go before the Conservation Commission to get permission to take approximately 2,000 cubic yards of tailings out of the dirt.

Park employees “thought it was going to work,” Timmins said. “It was a Band-Aid putting these in . . . it’s not like they were putting [chemicals] in there; it was branches, it wouldn’t cause a negative environmental impact.”

Jessica Bartlett can be reached at jessica.may.bartlett@
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