Northborough Resident Must Stop Collecting Solid Waste and Allow Health Checks of Animals Under Court Order Obtained by AG Coakley
BOSTON – A Northborough man has been ordered to stop accepting solid waste and compostable material on his property, providing relief to neighbors who have had to live with the odors and noise emanating from the property, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
According to the preliminary injunction, ordered by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Thomas Connors, Santo Anza must immediately cease and desist from accepting any solid waste, compostable materials and wood waste at this property located at 429 Whitney Street, and cannot move or remove any of the piles of solid waste or compost or operate any vehicle in and around the piles. Additionally, he must comply with an Animal Health Order issued by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) and provide access to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and DAR to check on the health of the animals that he keeps on his property.
“Mr. Anza has has created an intolerable nuisance condition for nearby neighbors and a hazard to the animals he keeps,” AG Coakley said. “Mr. Anza is violating state solid waste and clean air laws, and this has become a very real problem for his neighbors and the animals on his property.”
“The operations at Mr. Anza’s property have generated hundreds of complaints for noxious odors and other nuisances,” said Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). “With this court action, MassDEP expects that the property will be cleaned up and the nuisances will be abated. We will continue to work with the AG and the DAR to monitor the activities at this site.”
"We applaud the efforts of the attorney general in protecting the integrity of our farming community and animal health and welfare," said DAR Commissioner Scott J. Soares. “Safe composting – using our established practices, rules and guidelines currently in place – is an important component of sustainable farming across our Commonwealth."
According to the AG’s lawsuit, Mr. Anza has dumped or allowed others to dump solid waste at his Whitney Street property, and as a result, Mr. Anza has polluted the air and created a public nuisance by emitting rotten odors and noises that annoy and disrupt the peace and comfort of nearby neighbors. The complaint alleges that Mr. Anza does not have a permit from MassDEP to operate a dumping site or an agricultural composting registration from the Department of Agricultural Resources. Lacking the proper permit Mr. Anza allegedly dumped spoiled food, non-food waste, manure, yard waste, and cardboard on his property.
According to the lawsuit, during the summer months of June, July, and August 2011, the farm emitted strong and repulsive odors into a nearby residential neighborhood on an almost daily basis. The stench coming from the property created a nuisance condition and caused the residents to change their outdoor plans, close windows in the summer, leave their properties, refrain from inviting guests to their homes, change their sleeping arrangements, and caused some neighbors to become physically ill. Additionally, the complaint alleges Mr. Anza is not properly caring for the animals he owns, resulting in unsanitary conditions and a potential health threat to the livestock and poultry.
After an extensive investigation, MassDEP referred this matter to the Attorney General’s Office in early September 2011.
Assistant Attorney General Betsy Harper of AG Coakley’s Environmental Protection Division is handling the case with assistance from Paralegal Jennifer Faillace. Attorney Mary Jude Pigsley is handling the case for MassDEP along with Lynne Welsh, Michael Penney, Andrea Briggs, Lee Dillard Adams, and Paul Dwiggins from MassDEP’s Worcester regional office. Jessica Burgess is handling the case for the Department of Agricultural Resources assisted by Michael Cahill and William Blanchard.