December 11, 2006
Present were: Mayor Danderson, Councilors Nelson, Poulin, Grenier, Donovan, Lafleur, and Danderson; absent were Councilors Roy and Chagnon. Patrick MacQueen, Ernie Allain, David Degler, NHDES, media and public were also at the meeting.
Solid Waste Presentation
Mr. Degler gave an overview of solid waste and recycling efforts in the State with a Power Point presentation. He reported that DES has an inspector that works out of the Gorham office and anyone with a problem can call 271_3899.
NH municipalities recycle 48% of paper; 8% of glass; 2% of cans; 2% of plastics; 10% mixed containers; textiles 1%; electronics 2% and scrap metal 27%. There is no place that crushes glass for use on highways in the North Country. 93% of auto batteries are recycled. In1988 there were 8,000 landfills in the US and in 2005 there were about 1700; only 8% are located in the northeast.
Waste generation has been holding steady at 4.5 lbs per person per day. There are three private landfills in the state, Rochester, Mt. Carberry, and Bethlehem. There are several town landfills. With no new permits or modifications, the State will be out of landfill space by 2019. This does not factor in the imports the State allows in, which cannot be regulated at the State level. If we run out of space, we will then have to ship to other states at a very high cost.
Mr. Degler informed the group that waste is increasing but recycling rates are not increasing. Capacity is stagnant or declining. New disposal facilities are becoming increasingly difficult to site. 103 towns and cities in NH pay a total of $50,165,700 in budget line item costs to dispose of solid waste; this is $80.23 per person or approximately $280.79 per household.
Communities can offer incentives to recycle. It will not make money but would save in disposal costs. A "Pay as You Throw" program is an incentive to recycle. Citizens pay for trash bags and fill with whatever. In the program, recycling items are disposed of for free. The connection is soon made that there is no cost for the recycled items. Key to a successful program is to set a goal and to let the citizens know how they are doing.
Mayor Danderson commented on the new incinerator in Concord stating that the device reduces costs and the community gets the benefit of the production of electricity. Mr. Degler noted that there is a high cost of permitting and the life expectancy of the plant is about 40 years. He added that there are heavy metals in the ash and therefore it has to be disposed of properly. Mr. MacQueen indicated that there are high capital costs to such a project.
Mr. Degler reported that there are no complaints about the Penacook incinerator but lots of complaints about the one in Claremont. To comments about the odors coming from the Mt. Carberry Landfill, Councilor Grenier said that heavy rainfall has compounded the issue by speeding up the percolation of the gases. The AVRRDD is looking at a new membrane spray that covers the waste and gases do not permeate. Mayor Danderson reasoned that incineration may not be as expensive when considering all the after costs of a landfill. Mr. Degler noted that this is the first city he's come across that picks up for commercial businesses. It is a unique situation. Mayor Danderson confirmed that for the Pay as You Throw program bags are sold in local stores. PAYT provides direct economic incentives that motivate
recycling and the reduction of solid waste.
Councilor Grenier questioned whether there is a method to do cardboard. Mr. Allain reasoned that the recycle truck is already partitioned to fill with the recyclables collected. Councilor Grenier speculated that once a letter goes out to people, they will begin anew with their efforts of recycling. He cautioned that he does not want this effort to add cost to businesses. There has to be a method to go after the slumlords who visit their properties once per month. There is no financial incentive for the tenants to recycle. Need to target enforcement on the offenders.
Mayor Danderson noted that we could also be encouraging people to do their own recycling by taking their material to the recycling facility themselves. Councilor Donovan agreed stating that people will add a stop at the recycling facility as part of their errands. He added that if picking up cardboard is a serious issue the truck could be adapted to accommodate.
Councilor Grenier speculated that the recycling numbers can be raised without dealing with cardboard. Non_owner occupied tenement buildings are major contributors of trash and often do not recycle. Mayor Danderson expressed a need to monitor all multi units; the ones that don=t comply with recycling efforts would be issued violations and after five, they would be on their own for trash pick up. We would be rewarding the person who is doing the right thing by not taking away the privilege from all multi_unit buildings. Councilor Grenier suggested that the plan be run by the city attorney to be sure what we do stands up to the test.
Mr. Degler noted that often mandating that trash be put to the curb in clear bags is enough to raise the recycling rate in a community.
Councilor Grenier moved to skip the meeting during the week of Christmas and to have the first meeting of 2007 January 2; Councilor Poulin seconded and the motion carried.
Mayor Danderson reported that he received a letter of resignation from Ray Chagnon who is resigning from the City Council and the Androscoggin Valley Disposal District. Mayor Danderson said that he will nominate Councilor Lafleur to be on the AVRRDD. That nomination will be brought up at the next meeting. The process is that we will advertise to have interested Ward III citizens submit a resume for a Council election in early January.
There being no further business to come before the Council; Councilor Poulin made a motion to adjourn; Councilor Nelson seconded and the motion carried.