Local

Rutland Farm Growing A Big Controversy

By WBZ-TV Chief Correspondent Joe Shortsleeve
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RUTLAND (CBS) – A large historic New England farm finds itself in the middle of an ugly dispute where residents are trying to get answers to what is being planted in the ground.

It is the largest dairy farm in central Massachusetts, 500 acres of rolling hills. For more than 70 years, Jordan Dairy Farm has been a good neighbor.

But that has changed.

Tempers are flaring after the owner of Jordan Farm made a business deal involving soil from Boston area construction sites. For months, hundreds of trucks carrying fill from sites, like the Route 128 expansion project in Dedham, have been dumping thousands of tons, over 30 acres.

Some experts are very concerned it could contain dangerous chemicals even though technically and legally not considered contaminated. The problem is the fields are very close to a chain of reservoirs.

Phil Guerin oversees water purity for Worcester.

“We know that in at least one and probably two (sites) there are contaminated soils and these are big excavations and there are layers of contamination.”

In March angry Rutland town officials, blindsided by the project, tried to stop it.

Skip Clarke is a Rutland selectman. “The concern is the safety of the people. The water supply that goes to Boston, Worcester and Holden. If that gets contaminated where are they going to get their drinking water?”

The owner of the farm, Randy Jordan, told WBZ-TV he is 100-percent convinced that the fill which is being dumped there is not contaminated. He also told WBZ he has not been paid one cent.

Jordan is well known as he also serves as the Rutland Town Moderator. In a statement he said, “we do not understand and are very disturbed at the continuing campaign of falsehoods and innuendo… to the effect that we are involved in transporting and dumping environmentally contaminated soil… here in Rutland.”

Jordan maintains the free dirt which has been inspected simply allows him to level his fields.

With regards to possible contamination, his neighbor and business partner Dick Williams added, “we simply have nothing to gain and a lot to lose…would not stand by and let that happen.”

However, Phil Guerin of the Worcester Department of Public Works says more detailed inspections are needed and he says, “there is a lot of suspicious things going on there which make us wonder if this is on the up and up.”

The city of Worcester is conducting tests on a stream near the fields and so far everything is ‘OK.’ Both Rutland and Worcester are planning more extensive testing with results available this summer.

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