ADAMS, Mass. — The overflowing dumpsters at the former Curtis Fine Papers are being removed.
Code Enforcement Officer Thomas Romaniak told the Board of Health on Wednesday that the business storing the full dumpsters on the 115 Howland Ave. property has moved most of them to a different location it also leases.
"There is still some junk there and in the back," he said. "There are some unregistered vehicles back there, too ... there have been issues there for a long time now."
Discussion over the mill sparked up on social media when residents shared concerns over alleged activity there in October. The town had pulled MJD Real Estate's operating permits because owners Norman Dellaghelfa Jr. and Roberta Dellaghelfa, who used the facility for their trucking business, owe the town more than $450,000 in unpaid real estate and personal property taxes. The town is in the process of taking the property.
While they were not allowed to operate on the premises, it appears that they were leasing space to a hauler.
Last month, the Board of Health was asked to inspect the dumpsters on the property that were believed to be a fire hazard.
Board of Health member Bruce Shepley said although the dumpster issue seems to be correcting itself, the board should keep a close eye on the mill.
"I think this needs to stay open indefinitely and this is a multi-agency effort that until we all are in agreement should stay open," Shepley said. "This is a big issue and ... this is a thorn in the side of Adams."
There are also zoning concerns with the property and Romaniak said he believes the town was in the process of finding out who else is leasing the property. He said there appears to be an automobile repair operation still on the premise as well as a continuation of freight movement.
He added that the Dellaghelfas also owe fines to the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Romaniak said he did not inspect the inside of the mill.
In other business, the Board of Health said a vial of mercury was found in the transfer station shed and was properly disposed of through the Northern Berkshire Solid Waste Management District. No one knew how the vial got there.
"Upon the annual cleaning of the shed by a known contractor, this bottle of liquid mercury was found in there," Shepley said. "How it got in there and who dropped it off is unknown to everyone."
For the most part, the shed it locked and the attendant keeps a watchful eye on whatever materials come through, he said, adding the attendant may have been busy and missed the mercury passing through.
Shepley asked at a future meeting they brainstorm how to prevent an incident like this from happening again.
"It was just a small amount. You know enough to roll on our desks in the 1960s, but we want to make sure we can prevent this in the future," he said. "There could have been some significant ramifications."
Board member David Rhoads said the full-service transfer station is now open and the town has already sold almost 300 permits.
"We are open for business there were," he said. "Permits are in demand."
The East Road transfer station had only taken recyclables in recent years and residents used commercial haulers or the North Adams transfer station. The town decided to start taking solid waste and implemented a pay-as-you-throw system to offset the station's costs.
Rhoads also asked if it was possible in the future to accept expired propane tanks.
Shepley said the attendant in the past had removed the valves and taken tanks but with no way to know if the tanks are completely empty, it could be dangerous.
"Removing the valves is dangerous and we shouldn't be doing that," he said. "You never know if it has been completely discharged."
Shepley said he would contact the waste district to see what the protocol for collecting propane tanks is.
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