Former waste hauler leaves behind trash heaps

Former waste hauler leaves behind trash heaps

Piles of debris are left behind Coastal Recycling at 761 Great Road in North Smithfield. (Valley Breeze Photo by David Wuerth)
Coastal Recycling cited over abandoned Great Road property

NORTH SMITHFIELD - Not long ago, Coastal Recycling held the trash hauling contracts for the towns of Cumberland, Smithfield and North Smithfield, and was looking to expand in northern Rhode Island, submitting competitive bids for collection in other communities.

Now, the company is out of the residential collection business, and has abandoned their property at 761 Great Road, leaving behind dozens of overflowing Dumpsters, and massive piles of rubbish and recycling.

North Smithfield Public Works Director Raymond Pendergast said that Coastal held the contract for North Smithfield's waste collection for "at least six years," and that he first received news that they would no longer be providing the service when owner Anthony Davidson called last May to announce that he was selling his company's residential contracts to Waste Haulers.

Waste Haulers, a Cranston-based company with contracts across Rhode Island, has since taken over Coastal's routes in town, operating from a transfer station on Canal Street in North Smithfield.

"I personally think they've done a better job," Pendergast said of the new trash service.

Coastal's Great Road property, a 32-acre plot formerly owned by ATP Manufacturing, was still operated by "765 Great Road, LLC," a corporation owned by Davidson, according to Building Inspector Robert Benoit, and was largely forgotten. The property is zoned for manufacturing, and Benoit said a portion of the building was briefly rented out last year to another recycling firm.

In September, the Department of Environmental Management received a complaint regarding improper solid waste disposal at the property, and DEM contacted the town.

"They left the building and the property in complete chaos and have impacted the environment with a back yard full of trash," said North Smithfield Town Administrator Paulette Hamilton.

The land, Benoit said, was supposed to be used for parking and other uses related to Coastal operations, but was not approved for hauling or storage of waste.

"They weren't supposed to have all of the containers full of trash," Benoit said. "They're behind the building."

The state fire marshal visited the property with the intent to shut down the building last month, but found that it was already vacant, and according to Hamilton, the police are looking to serve the owner a summons for failing to pay back taxes of $40,000.

Benoit recently sent out a notice of violation from his office via certified mail, but has not yet received a response.

State court records show that Davidson filed for Chapter 13, a form of bankruptcy that allows individuals to undergo a financial reorganization, in December. The case includes assets with an estimated value of $0 to $50,000 and includes personal debts to Rhode Island Resource Recovery and DEM.

The process was discharged on Jan. 31 of this year, an indication that the Chapter 13 plan was successfully completed.

According to DEM spokeperson Gail Mastrati, her office's investigation of the Coastal property is still ongoing.

The company was issued a notice of violation from DEM on a separate issue last January, for wetland violations. According to the notice, inspections of the land in 2012 revealed clearing, filling and creating a soil disturbance on the Branch River.

"This activity has resulted in the unauthorized alteration of approximately 37,500 square feet of wetland," it stated.

That order, and accompanying $5,000 fine, are currently stayed pending an administrative hearing.

The view behind Coastal Recycling at 761 Great Road in North Smithfield.