Town of South Hadley

Board of Health
Board of Health, Members Walter R. Wolf, DPM, Chair Michael A. Rosner, MD, Vice Chair Suzanne M. Cordes, Clerk Board of Health, Staff Sharon D. Hart, Dir. of Public Health Doris D. Leclair, Senior Clerk Margaret E. Bernard, RN Community Health Nurse Larry F. Eldridge, Jr., Gas & Plumber Inspector

116 Main Street  Suite 102  South Hadley, MA 01075 Phone (413) 538-5017 ext. 204  Fax (413) 538-5012

January 11, 2013

Via E-mail and First Class Mail Dan Hall Section Chief, Solid Waste Management Bureau of Waste Prevention DEP – Western Regional Office 436 Dwight Street Springfield, MA 01103 Re: Comments on Draft Permit Issued to South Hadley Landfill, LLC BWP SW 26 –Authorization to Construct Cell 2E - Phase 2 DEP File No. 12-275-001

Dear Mr. Hall: We are writing on behalf of the Board of Health of South Hadley (the Board) to provide written comments on the above-referenced draft landfill permit (the Draft Permit) in accordance with 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 20th, and we thank the Department for its courtesy in granting that extension. We also appreciate the recent attendance at our Board meeting by the Department’s Regional Director Michael Gorski and Deputy Regional Director Steve Ellis. As you are aware, the Board has received a large number of citizen complaints, over a sustained period of time, about the operation of the South Hadley Landfill. We have received countless phone calls, emails and letters expressing citizen concerns. South Hadley residents regularly 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 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 a Board 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, the Department has expended significant staff time over the past year on landfill issues in South Hadley. We believe that the goals of the Department and this Board overlap in trying to ensure minimal 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 based on 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 at 310 CMR 16.40. The liner extends about 12.5 feet into the 100-foot property line setback and about 45 feet into the 1,000 foot setback for an occupied residential dwelling. These encroachments were not properly identified during the Site Assignment process for this expansion. The Draft Permit proposes to allow this encroachment to be constructed, and for the encroachment area to be filled with waste material that receives a Beneficial Use Determination from the Department. Proposed General Permit Condition 2.E says: “Any waste materials to be beneficially reused… 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 that is not contaminated as defined in Policy COMM-07-001) or material having a Beneficial Use Determination (“BUD”) for unrestricted locations/unregulated systems. …In the event that SHL wishes to use materials in these areas that are different from those listed above, 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 be sited. The rules provide that no site shall be determined to be suitable or be assigned as a landfill facility where, among other things, any area of waste deposition would be within 1000 feet of an occupied residential dwelling. See 310 CMR 16.40(3)(a)(15). In addition, the rules provide that the minimum distance between a landfill’s waste handling and deposition areas and the property boundary must be 100 feet. See 310 CMR 16.40(4)(h). Department waiver of these restrictions is only authorized by the Commissioner of the Department and requires a finding by the Commissioner that the waiver is necessary to accommodate an overriding community, regional, or state public interest. See 310 CMR 16.40(6). No such finding has been issued here. 2

Second, the Draft Permit’s solution to the encroachment issue – to give the Department the ability to designate unspecified future waste materials as “BUD” materials in order to allow for 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 have some beneficial uses. However, the Department’s regulations that address BUD determinations are entitled: Beneficial Use of Solid Waste. See 310 CMR 19.60. Essentially, BUDs are issued for solid wastes that are “repurposed” for specific beneficial uses. The Board believes it would be unprecedented for the Department to authorize the construction of a landfill cell in an encroachment area, knowing that waste deposition in that area is prohibited, for the specific purpose of receiving solid wastes that will be reclassified as BUD material. We are unaware of any such occurrence in the Commonwealth in the past. If this has occurred, 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 Department and this Board contained false information, but the Draft Permit clearly indicates that the two encroachments 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 the mandatory property boundary setback that would be required to obtain a positive site suitability report from the Department and a site assignment approval from the Board. At this point, we cannot be certain what the Department or this Board would have done with the site assignment application 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 to entirely remove the landfill liner from the protected setback areas. Our purpose in raising this concern to the Department is not to be punitive. Rather, it is to ensure that the landfill does not exacerbate the ongoing conditions that the Board and the Department are now trying to address related to odors, noise and air emissions. It is critical to this Board – and we believe to the Department - that the next phase of landfill development not make conditions worse for those living near the landfill. Given the proximity of residences to Cell 2E - Phase 2, and the past problems nearby residences have experienced, this Board strongly opposes 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, and where current landfill operations have caused disturbances to those residential receptors, the Board believes that the appropriate response to the encroachment problem is to prohibit the construction of any landfill liner in the encroachment area, where the Department’s own site assignment regulations clearly prohibit landfilling. In fact, the Board recommends that the Department prohibit any construction of landfill infrastructure in the encroachment area. Further, the Board requests that the Department prohibit the use of any BUD material in an encroachment area, regardless of the existence of a liner or landfill cell. The Board believes these actions would reduce the likelihood that landfill operations would exacerbate the disturbances already experienced by the nearby residences. 2. Special Waste Disposal 3

The Draft Permit provides in General Permit Condition 2.C that special wastes may be disposed of in the landfill only in accordance with an approval from the Department. Please modify this condition to reflect that an approval of this Board is also required as a condition of the landfill site assignment. 3. Berm Construction

The Draft Permit provides in Special Permit Condition 13 that the berm shall be inspected by a licensed P.E. once per quarter. A. Please provide that the inspecting engineer must be from an independent, third party engineering firm with substantive knowledge about the design and maintenance of MSE berms, and not from the firm that either designed or constructed the berm. B. Please provide that the purpose of the inspection is to determine the structural stability and condition of the berm. C. Please provide that the inspecting engineer must submit a report to the Department and the Board within fifteen days of the inspection, documenting any findings and requiring immediate (within 24 hours) notification of the Department and the Board in the event that any substantive cracks, structural decay or other potentially dangerous conditions are observed. 4. Noise

There have been a number of complaints by residential neighbors about noise intrusion from the landfill, both during operations and early in the morning before operations are authorized under the site assignment or current solid waste permit. A. Please add to the Special Permit Conditions a requirement that all vehicles used during construction and operation of the landfill must be equipped with self-adjusting backup alarms. B. Please limit construction activities at the site to the hours of 7:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, but not including state holidays. C. The new internal road proposed to be built and used at the landfill site to access the active disposal cell is designed to pass very close to some residences and we are concerned about impacts on these residences from the proposed design. We therefore ask the Department to either require relocation of the road away from any residences, or require additional noise mitigation, such as acoustical barriers, to protect nearby residences from nuisance noise conditions. 5. Air Monitoring

The Board has previously requested that the Department conduct air monitoring in the area surrounding the landfill in order to provide additional data about air quality impacts. The Board is particularly concerned about landfill gas, odors, and particulate emissions. At our recent Board meeting, we were very encouraged to hear Regional Director Gorski indicate that the Department was actively exploring a monitoring plan, and that he expected to report back to the Board on the plan shortly. We encourage the Department to incorporate air monitoring 4

requirements as conditions of the final permit. We also request that the Department require an internet data link for the monitoring equipment, if this is feasible, so that monitoring data can be easily accessed and reviewed by the public on a real time basis. 6. MSE Berm FAM

Special Permit Condition 18 requires submittal of a revised financial assurance mechanism (FAM) cost estimate for the new landfill cell. The Town of South Hadley’s contract with the landfill operator provides that the operator bears sole financial responsibility for any portion of a FAM required by the Department to address any MSE berms at the landfill. Please ensure that the permit requires the operator to separately identify the closure/post closure costs in this estimate that are associated with the MSE berm. Thank you very much for your careful consideration of these comments. The Board looks forward to continuing its dialogue with the Department on these issues. Sincerely yours,

__________________ Walter R. Wolf, DPM Chair

___________________ Michael A. Rosner, MD Vice Chair

_________________ Suzanne M. Cordes Clerk


Richard Sullivan, Jr., Secretary, EOEEA Ken Kimmel, Commissioner, DEP Nancy Kaplan, General Counsel, DEP Michael Gorski, Regional Director, DEP Steven Ellis, Deputy Regional Director, DEP Mark Harlacker, VP, Advanced Disposal Jim Reidy, Superintendent, South Hadley DPW Sharon Hart, Director of Public Health, South Hadley Stephen Richmond, Beveridge & Diamond


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