The Graniteville quarry in Westford, Massachusettso has been in operation since the 1800s, but a proposed project could begin to refill its carved holes with soil – restoring the area’s historic topography, reports Westford Eagle.
Graniteville Materials co-owners Phil Clifford and Bob Mucciarone are working with Warwick-based Alliance Environmental Group on a plan that would improve safety at the 69-acre site and could lead to the quarry’s eventual closure.
“If we got the permit to fill it, we would end up closing it at some point after it was filled,” Mucciarone said. “The other option is to continue to run it as a quarry forever, but then you’re going to have mining going on, the blasting, truck traffic forever.”
Alliance Environmental Group Vice President Felix Perriello presented a plan to selectmen on April 26 that would use the trucks currently exporting granite extracted from the quarry to also import soil for reclamation from nearby construction projects.
This is the only way to make the restoration effort economically feasible, according to Mucciarone. “If (companies) are doing a construction project, it’s a lot better to come from some place where they’re going to dump the soil and pick up material to bring back,” Mucciarone said. “It’s economically feasible for them.”
Both Clifford and Mucciarone weren’t originally in the quarry business when they purchased the Graniteville quarry from J.R. Pacella in July 2015. The sale was for $3,007,764, according to Westford Assessor’s data.
“This is like a side venture for both of us,” said Mucciarone, who is the chief operating officer for the Bedford-based F.W. Webb Company, which distributes plumbing and heating products. “Now we’re at a crossroads, do we continue to operate as a quarry, sell it as an operating quarry, or do we fill it and sell it as a development,” said Mucciarone.
Clifford is the owner of Wakefield-based telecommunication company Sentenia Systems. Both owners have invested millions into cleaning up the property, which had a number of cars and tires dumped at the site, according to Clifford.
“We’ve put an enormous effort into cleaning it,” Clifford said. “We removed over 500 tires off the property.”
Alliance Environmental Group is currently developing a Soil Reuse Management Plan pursuant with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s interim policy on the reuse of soil for large reclamation projects, according to Perriello. “We have to follow the regulations,” Perriello said. “We’re going to be held to a strict and higher standard.”