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South Hadley Board of Health letter to Massachusetts Department of Environtmental Protection

South Hadley Board of Health letter to Massachusetts Department of Environtmental Protection

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Published by: masslive on Feb 14, 2013
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 Board of Health, Members
Walter R. Wolf, DPM, Chair Michael A. Rosner, MD, Vice Chair Suzanne M. Cordes, Clerk  
January 11, 2013 
Via E-mail and First Class Mail 
 Dan HallSection Chief, Solid Waste ManagementBureau of Waste PreventionDEP – Western Regional Office436 Dwight StreetSpringfield, MA 01103 Re: Comments on Draft Permit Issued to South Hadley Landfill, LLCBWP SW 26 –Authorization to Construct Cell 2E - Phase 2DEP File No. 12-275-001 Dear Mr. Hall: We are writing on behalf of the Board of Health of South Hadley (the Board) to providewritten comments on the above-referenced draft landfill permit (the Draft Permit) in accordancewith the provisions of 310 CMR 19.034. We understand that the Department has extended the public comment period on the Draft Permit at our request through at least January 20
, and wethank the Department for its courtesy in granting that extension. We also appreciate the recentattendance at our Board meeting by the Department’s Regional Director Michael Gorski andDeputy Regional Director Steve Ellis.As you are aware, the Board has received a large number of citizen complaints, over asustained period of time, about the operation of the South Hadley Landfill. We have receivedcountless phone calls, emails and letters expressing citizen concerns. South Hadley residentsregularly attend our Board meetings, where they emphasize the impacts of the landfill on their daily lives. As you know, there are residences in very close proximity to the waste deposition
Town of South Hadley
 Board of Health
116 Main Street
Suite 102
South Hadley, MA 01075Phone (413) 538-5017 ext. 204
Fax (413) 538-5012
 Board of Health, Staff 
Sharon D. Hart, Dir. of Public HealthDoris D. Leclair, Senior Clerk Margaret E. Bernard, RNCommunity Health NurseLarry F. Eldridge, Jr., Gas & Plumber Inspector 
areas of the landfill, and many of the complaints we receive come from these residents. Stated simply, the South Hadley landfill is not a sporadic issue for us. Our time as aBoard has been consumed by responding to citizen objections to landfill impacts. The Board is particularly concerned about complaints of nuisance conditions, such as odors, noise and dust,and about the impacts that these conditions may have on nearby residents, those residents’health, and the general welfare of the community. We realize that, like the Board, theDepartment has expended significant staff time over the past year on landfill issues in SouthHadley. We believe that the goals of the Department and this Board overlap in trying to ensureminimal public health and environmental impacts from landfill operations.
Specific Comments on Draft Permit
 The Board provides the following comments on the Draft Permit. 
1.Encroachment on Mandatory Site Assignment Setback Areas
 The Draft Permit says the following: On September 21, 2009, MassDEP issued a Site Suitability Report approval basedon representations made in the application. After a public hearing, the Board of Health issued a modified Site Assignment on November 23, 2009. The landfill liner as designed encroaches onto two setback areas established at310 CMR 16.40. The liner extends about 12.5 feet into the 100-foot property linesetback and about 45 feet into the 1,000 foot setback for an occupied residentialdwelling. These encroachments were not properly identified during the SiteAssignment process for this expansion.The Draft Permit proposes to allow this encroachment to be constructed, and for theencroachment area to be filled with waste material that receives a Beneficial Use Determinationfrom the Department.Proposed General Permit Condition 2.E says: “Any waste materials to be beneficiallyreused… shall have an appropriate Beneficial Use Determination (“BUD”).”Proposed Specific Permit Condition 28.A says: “In no case shall regulated solid waste be placed in any areas where the liner encroaches… [into the 100-foot/1,000 foot setback].SHL shall place only materials never subject to the solid waste regulations (e.g. soil thatis not contaminated as defined in Policy COMM-07-001) or material having a BeneficialUse Determination (“BUD”) for unrestricted locations/unregulated systems. …In theevent that SHL wishes to use materials in these areas that are different from those listedabove, they may submit a site-specific BUD application requesting such approval.”The Board strongly opposes these provisions. First, the Department’s site assignment rules restrict the area where a landfill may besited. The rules provide that no site shall be determined to be suitable or be assigned as a landfill2 
facility where, among other things, any area of waste deposition would be within 1000 feet of anoccupied residential dwelling.
310 CMR 16.40(3)(a)(15). In addition, the rules provide thatthe minimum distance between a landfill’s waste handling and deposition areas and the property boundary must be 100 feet.
310 CMR 16.40(4)(h). Department waiver of these restrictionsis only authorized by the Commissioner of the Department and requires a finding by theCommissioner that the waiver is necessary to accommodate an overriding community, regional,or state public interest.
310 CMR 16.40(6). No such finding has been issued here. Second, the Draft Permit’s solution to the encroachment issue – to give the Departmentthe ability to designate unspecified future waste materials as “BUD” materials in order to allowfor their disposal in the lined area within the setback is in our view insufficient. Under Department guidance, BUD materials are secondary materials that under certain conditions havesome beneficial uses. However, the Department’s regulations that address BUD determinationsare entitled: Beneficial Use of Solid Waste.
310 CMR 19.60. Essentially, BUDs are issuedfor solid wastes that are “repurposed” for specific beneficial uses.The Board believes it would be unprecedented for the Department to authorize theconstruction of a landfill cell in an encroachment area, knowing that waste deposition in that areais prohibited, for the specific purpose of receiving solid wastes that will be reclassified as BUDmaterial. We are unaware of any such occurrence in the Commonwealth in the past. If this hasoccurred, we ask that the Department identify, in its response to comments on the Draft Permit,the locations and the facts and rationales for the authorizations to allow construction. We do not know why the applicant’s site assignment submittals to the Departmentand this Board contained false information, but the Draft Permit clearly indicates that the twoencroachments were not properly identified during the Site Assignment process. As a result,the site assignment proposal did not meet the mandatory residential dwelling setback and themandatory property boundary setback that would be required to obtain a positive site suitabilityreport from the Department and a site assignment approval from the Board. At this point, wecannot be certain what the Department or this Board would have done with the site assignmentapplication had it contained accurate information on setbacks. Our strong suspicion, however,is that the application would have been denied, or the proposal would have been modified toentirely remove the landfill liner from the protected setback areas. Our purpose in raising this concern to the Department is not to be punitive. Rather, itis to ensure that the landfill does not exacerbate the ongoing conditions that the Board and theDepartment are now trying to address related to odors, noise and air emissions. It is critical tothis Board – and we believe to the Department - that the next phase of landfill development notmake conditions worse for those living near the landfill. Given the proximity of residences toCell 2E - Phase 2, and the past problems nearby residences have experienced, this Board stronglyopposes the construction of any landfill liner or the placement of any waste material within either the 1000 foot or the 100 foot setbacks.Where a landfill is located in an area that is so close to residential receptors, andwhere current landfill operations have caused disturbances to those residential receptors,the Board believes that the appropriate response to the encroachment problem is to prohibitthe construction of any landfill liner in the encroachment area, where the Department’s ownsite assignment regulations clearly prohibit landfilling. In fact, the Board recommends that3 

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