The Bourne landfill will be the final resting place for a dead whale that washed up on the shores of Plymouth. The decaying carcass has caused significant odor issues for residents who live where the marine mammal washed ashore, but landfill officials say Bourne residents will not experience the same stench.
Integrated Solid Waste Management general manager Daniel T. Barrett said the landfill is prepared to accept the carcass. Mr. Barrett said that a hole will be dug ahead of time in the landfill’s ash section. Upon arrival, the whale will immediately be placed in the hole and covered over with ash, which has a lime content that further cuts down on the smell, he said.
“We’re cognizant of not allowing that to happen,” he said of subjecting residents to odor pollution.
The 21-foot-long Minke whale washed ashore on a private beach in Plymouth on July 18. Residents of Ocean Aire Estates said that an animal welfare crew warned them not to move the whale because the cause of death had not yet been determined.
Since then, no one has come to examine the whale and the stench from the decaying carcass has become putrid. Mr. Barrett said that he was contacted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration about disposal of the whale, and he is confident that all measures will have been taken to have it ready for burial when it arrives at the landfill.
Since the whale did not wash up on a town or state beach, it is up to the homeowners’ association to get rid of it. Mr. Barrett said this week that an arrival date of the dead sea creature had not been confirmed.
The Bourne Board of Health gave approval for the whale to be buried at the landfill, Mr. Barrett confirmed. He said that the board’s approval was the only town permitting required since the state Department of Environmental Protection issued its permitting to the landfill four or five years ago.
In addition, permitting has been secured by the Town of Plymouth and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, he said.
Mr. Barrett noted that this is not the first time a whale has been buried at the landfill. He said that ISWM works closely with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, based in Yarmouth, for proper disposal. He recalled that the landfill accepted a whale for burial sometime within the last six to eight months.
“This is not our first rodeo,” he said.