ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Health has agreed to crackdown on commercial trash haulers operating incorrectly or without a permit.
After board members aired concerns Wednesday about haulers operating without permits and driving with uncovered loads, Chairman Bruce Shepley said he would follow up with the Police Department and explain the board's grievances.
"Sometimes trash gets loose and falls out and that is due to it not being covered," Shepley said. "It’s enforcement through the local Police Department; an uncovered load is a violation."
The board was unclear where its responsibilities ended in regards to trash haulers. Shepley said he knew the board oversaw permitting but was unsure if it had the power to approach haulers and ask for permitting or comment on vehicle issues.
He said he recently approached an unlabeled hauler with an uncovered load and asked the operators for permitting documentation. Although the hauler was permitted through the town, they were unable to provide documentation and Shepley said he noticed vehicle maintenance issues.
Shepley said he was unclear what the board could actually do with such violations and asked the chief of police how it would be enforced.
Police Chief Richard Tarsa told Shepley that unless his officers receive a specific report any violation would have to be picked up secondarily.
"He said unless they have a specific complaint things like vehicle condition, bald tires, muffler issues or an unsecured load would be picked up secondarily," Shepley said. "Like if they get pulled over for speeding."
Board member Allen Mendel added that he was concerned about haulers without labels. He said the vehicles should be labeled with the business name they are permitted under so if they litter trash or break a regulation they can be easily identified.
"The majority of them have the name on the vehicle so we know who they are, but some I see picking up trash have nothing on them," he said. "If we see them drop trash we have no idea who they are with."
Shepley said he would draft a letter to the chief of police and look up state regulations to see what the board can enforce.
In other business, Mendel asked that the board set a nonprofit permit policy.
Traditionally the board has waived fees for nonprofit entities who request permits, however the board has no specific policy and some nonprofits have been charged.
"It has had mixed reactions," he said. "Some have been charged and others haven't and I think we need some clarification."
Shepley agreed and said he too had questions the board could iron out such as should the town charge a nonprofit if it is not from Adams and if there were any other reasons to charge a nonprofit.
The board agreed to gather past permits and see if any nonprofits were charged and why.
The board also dismissed an unfounded case of food poisoning at Chee's Chinese Cuisine.
Code Enforcement Officer Thomas Romaniak said he received a call from someone who reported their whole family fell ill after eating at Chee's. He said he later found that only one member of the family actually ate the food.
Romaniak said he checked with Chee's owners and found no issues.
"I still went down and we put the two parties together and as far as I know they are back buying food from Chee's," he said. "He had no other complaints and it didn't make much sense to me."
Shepley said it was unfortunate that the person called the code enforcement officer without getting any follow up from a doctor.
"I think it is unfortunate that people would follow that route, and this is the kind of thing that can get out on social media and can change a business's reputation even if it is totally unfounded," Shepley said.
Shepley added to label sickness as food poisoning multiple parties must eat the same food and have the same symptoms and there must be medical follow-up.
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