Maciel and Sons remove buried septic semi trailers

Health officials don’t expect leakage; property owner points to lack of commercial storage space on-Island.

Maciel and Sons were ordered to remove two buried septic trucks from property they rent from Peter Goodale. — Lucas Thors

Two tanker semi trailers buried on land off High Point Lane in Tisbury were dug up by the trailers’ owners — Maciel and Sons — Monday morning, after the Tisbury board of health issued a 30-day removal order late last month.

The 8,000- and 9,000-gallon tank trailers are filled with septage, and were buried in the ground on property owned by the Goodale family, where several Island businesses store their large vehicles and equipment under land leases with Goodale.

Tisbury health agent Maura Valley initially ordered the trailers to be removed because Title 5 requires that any container used for septage transport needs to be on wheels, and not be a permanent structure.

The land the trailers are buried on is a pit situated behind the old Coca-Cola bottling plant. Peter Goodale previously told The Times he was unaware that the two trailers were buried on his property.

When asked what his initial reaction was to discovering that the trailers were buried by one of his lessees on his land, Goodale said he was “disappointed.”

He added that with so little commercial storage space on the Island, he has been renting out space at the High Point property to people who can’t find another space to keep their vehicles and equipment. “All the companies that don’t have space on the Island, I have been renting to them,” Goodale said.

Valley was on the scene at the excavation to monitor the process, and make sure that the tank trailers weren’t leaking when they were in the ground. “I am here so that the board of health and the property owner can take a look and make sure the trucks are intact,” she said.

If the integrity of the tanker trailers is compromised, Valley said, the board of health will work to determine what remediation measures are necessary. “From what we’ve been told, they were buried last November. We don’t expect that there will be any leakage based on the amount of time they’ve been buried, but we need to look and see,” Valley said.

Mike Whiteside, environmental engineer and responder for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, was also present to observe the process and note the condition of the tank trailers. “If they were put in in November, and they were in decent shape, I wouldn’t think they would be leaking by now, as long as they put them in the right way. We aren’t even sure what kind of trucks they are — we’ll find out,” Whiteside said.

Goodale said Whiteside suggested he monitor the property more closely to prevent this kind of activity. “But what am I supposed to do? Scan every square foot of the property? He buried the freaking things,” Goodale said.

On a separate note, Goodale said his commercial property has been home to a number of businesses that can’t find space elsewhere, and stressed the need for more commercially zoned lots designated for storage on Martha’s Vineyard. “Other towns don’t have enough commercial space to put businesses like this. Everybody complains about ‘There’s a company operating next door to me.’ Well, yeah, he is operating next door to you, because he’s got no place else to operate,” Goodale said. “You’ve got all the landscapers out there; do you want them on Main Street in Vineyard Haven or Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs? No, but those are the only places that are zoned commercially.”