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Longmeadow residents concerned over illegal dumping on conservation land

People living in Longmeadow reached out to our newsroom in hopes that we can get answers for them.
Updated: May. 23, 2022 at 5:00 PM EDT
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LONGMEADOW, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - People living in Longmeadow reached out to our newsroom in hopes that we can get answers for them. They’re concerned about illegal dumping in a conservation area in their town.

We did speak to concerned residents and they shared their stories with us. Some did not wish to speak on-camera, but they said illegal dumping has been taking place on the conservation land for years with no solution in sight.

“The past three to four years, we have been seeing illegal dumping and just dramatically increasing year after year,” said Brendan Ireland of Longmeadow.

Photos shared with Western Mass News showed illegal dumping over the years on the conservation area in town with car tires and pilled field cloth seen on the land.

Western Mass News checked out the area for ourselves. Our cameras found roofing material, an office chair, and a large pile of wood material.

“So we are seeing mattresses, we’re seeing all types of almost like house cleanouts, random stuff just delivered in piles,” Ireland added.

Ireland told Western Mass News that it’s been an ongoing issue for years. His family and other local neighbors come to the conservation land to hike down to the Connecticut River. On their walks, they have found everything from garbage bags filled with diapers to leftover home repair materials.

“It’s uncommon to come down here and not see a new pile of trash from a pickup truck,” Ireland noted.

Ireland told us, often times, residents have taken action into their own hands and pick up the materials and properly disposing of it.

“We can’t handle it ourselves anymore. We tried our best to clean it up, but we can’t anymore,” Ireland said.

Local residents have voiced their concerns to the town, but Ireland said their calls have gone unheard.

“We’re getting a ‘Give us a call next week. We’re going to look at it and we will follow up with you’ and weeks lead to months and months to years and nothing’s been taken. No action has been taken,” Ireland explained.

Ireland hopes the town will address the issue. Western Mass News is getting answers and we took the community’s concerns to the town manager and she told us, in part:

“Steps were taken last fall to try to curb this activity by installing a camera. Signs have been ordered and will be placed around the common dumping spots to place those on notice that any illegal dumping will be fined to full extent of the law.”

We reached out to the Longmeadow Police Department and Captain Carl Mazzaferro told us in part:

“Additional patrols will be assigned to check the areas where dumping has occurred. Additionally, portable cameras will be installed to identify and prosecute suspects. Not only does illegal dumping cause degradation to the landscape, resources and costs are incurred to clean up the debris. The LPD takes crimes against the environment seriously and we will work diligently to identify and charge any individual found responsible for illegally dumping materials.”

Per state law, a person can be fined up to $5,500 for a first offense of illegal dumping and $15,000 for subsequent offenses. Anyone who witnesses illegal dumping is asked to contact the police department.