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North Country Council Notes

NCC Meeting 3/6/2

Present: Danica Melone (Planner), Michelle Moren-Gray (CEO), James Steel (Finance), Nancy Strand (TSC Member), Barry Zitser (TSC Member)

Brief Review and confirmation of what NCC does (from website):

  • Grant Applications
  • Permitting Applications
  • Research Equipment Purchases
  • Development of Facility Brochures
  • Implement Pay-As-You-Throw Programs
  • Prepare and Review Requests for Proposals
  • Develop or Review Transfer Station Design
  • Establish, Enhance and Analyze Recycling Programs
  • Program Costs Analysis
  • Transfer Station Evaluations
  • Research on Recycling Markets
  • Education and Outreach Programs
  • Coordinate Paint Recycling Program, Universal Waste Recycling Program, and Household Hazardous Waste Collections

What grants we’re currently looking at:

  • USDA Solid Waste Management Grant
  • USDA Community Facilities Grant Program
  • New Hampshire the Beautiful
    • Assistance with recycling equipment (up to ½ of purchase): curbside collection bins, balers, crushers, roll-off containers…. Reimbursement after purchase.
    • Signage
    • Assistance for school recycling collection containers and trailers thru NH School Recycling Club
  • NH DES Household Hazardous Waste Grant Program – reimbursement after implemented and paid for
  • Keep American Beautiful / Coca-Cole Public Spaces Recycling Bin Grant Programs
    • Some free public spaces bins for cans and glass – large drum-size. Others available at discount pricing.

Other resources we have found:

  • Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NHRRA)
  • “Using Recycled Content Materials in Road & Infrastructure Projects”, April 15th, Concord ($75 fee)

Barry presented our “story” with the anticipated landfill closing and what work the TSC has done so far. We left them with a copy of the Jan 2018 Report to the Select Board. We explained that there is a possible April 2021 Transfer Station Open Date but that even if that occurs, we will be phasing in improvements towards a comprehensive Zero Waste Initiative approach. We have good support from our current Select Board. We have a community who wants to improve our town image.

Barry covered his research on bio-digesters and the methane gas company that will be operating at Trudeau Rd.

We discussed how to approach a Zero Waste Initiative with the Select Board and general public. NCC felt it was critical to determine what the town really wants. They recommend doing a survey of the community. Possibly put a warrant article up to vote in 2021 to declare Bethlehem’s goal of Zero Waste. But they felt it’s important to explain that it’s a plan for the future, a “we hope to…” initiative. Should indicate what the public is “on the hook for”, how does this impact them?

Regarding grants:

  • Best position is to have an emergency/short term plan that rolls into a long term solution
  • We may not qualify due to not low enough income for some funding sources.
  • “Studies” not recommended. More appropriate is “Feasability Plan”. It’s critical to establish a clear path that links it to actual implementation.
  • NCC has already submitted their grant application for 2020 funding and requested $120K.
  • Recommend that our next step is to submit RFQ (request for qualifications) at the federal level. Specify looking for those experienced with small municipalities, rural communities, and possible experience with zero waste initiatives.
  • NRRA may be able to help write grant applications. Nancy will report on this separately.

Other ideas:

  • We could have a Transfer Station at the Town Garage and create a Regional Recycling Center at Rt 116
  • Should keep our eye on state bill NB1319: prohibits permitting within 5 miles of national or state parks. Should check on distance to Franconia Notch.
  • Pemi-Baker Solid Waste District Membership – see attached info. Would give us purchase power with Berlin landfill. Covers Household Waste events and more.
  • Can Casella be convinced to have a food waste disposal system if they are open to 2025/2026?
  • CBD Grants – uses 2010 census numbers. State median income: $75,849. Bethlehem’s: $53.190. This means we’re eligible for 35% funding. For student projects and internships?
  • Agri-cycle (agricycleenergy.com) in Maine. May be taking food waste from Shaw’s in Littleton soon. It does cost. They also have a list of regional bio-digester plants: http://www.agricycleenergy.com/about-us/processing-partners/
  • NCC has also spoken with Meadowstone Farm but doesn’t think they can handle the amount needed in this area.

Communications after this meeting:

Hi Nancy,

I wanted to pass along the information we have on zero-waste transfer stations. After much research, we found that there are no such facilities currently with that initiative in the state of New Hampshire, but we did find several in the New England area and elsewhere (see attached documents.) Research indicated that facilities with a zero-waste initiative had plans for reaching zero-waste or reduced waste goals over time. I’ve included some great links (below) which I found very useful – particularly Managing and Transforming Waste Streams from the EPA does a great job of outlining how to implement a zero-waste initiative for a solid waste facility.

Going forward, North Country Council will continue research on this topic so that we may offer advanced assistance in planning for and facilitating zero waste initiatives in our region. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any further questions for me!

Danica

————

Hi Nancy,

It was great to meet with you and Barry on Friday. As discussed, below is some information I said I would follow-up on:

  1. a) Bonnie Bethune contact
    Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA)
    Member Services Manager
    bbethune@nrra.net
    (603) 736-4401 x 118
  2. b) Kevin McKinnon contact – Kevin used to work at the Colebrook Town Garage but has since retired and my contact info for him is out-of-date. I have reached out to Colebrook to see if I can get his current phone and/or email for you.
  3. c) Zero-Waste Communities – Using some of our USDA Solid Waste grant, I will spend some time this week and next week compiling research on zero-waste communities in our region, state, or nearby. Stay tuned!
  4. d) CFDA/CDBG Grants and Others – As discussed, I have reached out to CDBG coordinator Shelley Hadfield to check on their available grants to see if your project may be applicable. I will also be reviewing other grants to make sure we have all potential funding opportunities on our radar. I will follow-up on both of those items with you.
  5. e) PBSWD Information – I’ve attached:

1)      the current 2020 Pemi-Baker dues, you may note that our dues are based off of i) the most recent 5-year census data for population of the community, ii) the last reported year of total municipal solid waste tonnage (non-recyclable), and iii) the community’s respective portion of the NRRA dues. This sheet also shows how are dues fluctuated since the year prior – these changes are caused by growing/decreasing populations and increasing non-recyclable solid waste.

2)      An estimate of the Pemi-Baker dues if Bethlehem were to be included; the tonnage estimate was pulled from the Bethlehem Transfer station annual report to DES ( I can pull this file for you, if you’d like.)

3)      A write-up of a general summary of Pemi-Baker Solid Waste District

I think I covered everything but if I forgot something or if you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Best,

Danica