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09/14/2021 TSC Minutes

TOWN OF BETHLEHEM
2155 Main Street
Bethlehem, NH 03574

Transfer Station Committee Meeting Minutes
Sept 14th, 2021

Present: Barry Zitser, Chris Jensen, Nancy Strand, Julie Seely, Katherine Darges. Members of the public: Margaret Gale, Brian Cook

Public Input: Brian Cook introduced himself and stated he was there just to listen.

Update on Apparel Bin: Nancy reported that Joe, the owner at Apparel Unlimited, had said about 2 weeks ago that he was still expecting delivery of the bin around mid-September. The new food pantry construction has just begun, and the apparel bin will go right next to it.

Just Be Greener Issue 5: Nancy thought we should not release this next issue that focuses on textile recycling until the bin is in place. The newsletter subcommittee had completed their edits. Julie suggested four minor edits. The committee approved the newsletter with the 4 edits, slated to release as soon as the apparel bin is in place.

Next Issue Topic Discussion: Nancy suggested an issue that begins to address the different number coding on plastics: what do they mean, and how the plastics industry drives it. The goal is to get people to start looking at plastic containers’ numbering and drive sorting behavior. Chris mentioned there is a very good article from the NY Times that says there is no regulation on the plastic numbering. He offered to look for it and send it out to the committee members.

Barry suggested using an editorial written by Reagan Bissonnette about the resurgence of recycling.

Barry mentioned in speaking with another transfer station the NRRA is taking all their glass. Only expense to the transfer station is the transportation cost.

Katherine thought it would be good to address the costs associated with rinsing out food containers, pitted against the benefits of decontamination of the containers for recycling. This quandary was very apparent when we were in severe drought conditions.

Barry suggested we touch on the importance of decontamination in general with plastics recycling.

Brian Cook raised the issue of solar energy. His house runs on solar, and he has been surprised at the lack of solar use in this area. Barry pointed out that the town has a comprehensive solar plan in place and there is an Energy Committee that facilitated two recent solar projects. Brian doesn’t believe there are currently any state incentives to convert to solar.

Sign Recommendation to Select Board: Barry and Nancy selected #38 this year which is a large 4’ x 8’ sign that allows a transfer station to show recycling results by year. The sign is worth 60 points, which is the full allotment of free signage we can get from New Hampshire the Beautiful. Chris asked who would fill this sign out? Barry believes that even when we briefly had a transfer station, they already tracked tonnage of various recyclables. Chris cannot fit this in his car and is hoping that someone else can store it. Nancy volunteered to store it in her barn. Katherine volunteered her daughter Veronica to pick up the sign (along with another free sign) using her pickup. Chris will take care of ordering the sign. The committee approved this order request with no opposed or abstentions.

Margaret raised the issue she has with the NHtB organization itself as they have opposed any bottle bill in NH. Julie said NHtB was originally founded by a group of grocers specifically to oppose the bottle bill.

Update on Grant Opportunities: Barry spoke about a couple of grants. NRRA did get a grant, but it only applies to existing transfer stations. However, Barry has stayed in touch with Coryanne Mansell with Center for EcoTechnology. She was a guest speaker at TSC some time back. She has notified Barry that they have just received a grant to work with schools and businesses to audit and make recommendation of ways to pursue landfill diversion.

Money will be available beginning in October. Barry would like the Select Board to approve pursuing grant monies through this program. This would also address our goal of public education.

Discussion followed. Several suggested a phone call to BES and Profile to see if they would be interested in this program before the idea is taken to the Select Board. Barry suggested a direct phone conversation with Coryanne to learn more about what this entails.

Barry will get more information on the program specifics so we can approach schools to gauge their interest. Julie suggested it would be the school boards who will need to be given the information as they would be the ones to approval any grants.

Barry reported that if the federal infrastructure bill passes, there is a provision for grants for public education surrounding solid waste. Barry will keep us up to date with developments on this potential funding source. Barry and Nancy had started a list of ways we could use monies towards public education.

Update on Landfill Challenges and Violations: There are 2 judicial suits, one against NCES and one against the Commissioner of DES, both have their status listed as “Closed”. Barry is unaware of any appeals taken on these suits after they were dismissed.

The major outstanding appeal is before the Waste Management Council. Two motions were made to dismiss the CLF appeals of the State VI expansion. Both motions to dismiss were denied. The hearing is scheduled for Nov 5th 9am. Nov 6th is their 1st deliberation date.

DES filed a notice of violation to NCES about going over the height of the landfill. NCES replied that they are not violating the order since it’s standard practice that all landfills “settle”. DES did not accept that response and told NCES they needed to enter into remediation. In NCES’s response, they state that this will impose financial burdens, but also states that it may require NCES to close for the remainder of 2021. Barry believe NCES would still be required to take Bethlehem’s waste, if they have not reached capacity of the landfill.

New Business: Chris reported that the Select Board is looking into the use of the Rte. 116 site for tactical training and shooting range by the police department. They also recently learned that more than just Bethlehem’s police department uses the site, invited by the Bethlehem Police Chief 5 or 6 years ago. Lead contamination may require remediation. The current chief is strongly opposed to moving to another site. The Select Board is looking at the town’s liability regarding this. Shell casings are all over the property. Before using this site, they went to Lisbon for training and shooting.

Nancy made a motion to accept Margaret Gale as a new member of the Transfer Station Committee and present that request to the Select Board. All were in favor.

Nancy mentioned that the Colonial was showing a movie Thursday night called “Waste” with a reception event hosting by the Littleton Coop. There was some thought of putting up a table by the TSC at 6:30pm during the reception (with the permission of the Colonial). After discussion there was no one able to be at this event.

Barry reported the state legislature signed into law HB413, the working group to advise DES on solid waste management. NRRA selected Reagan Bissonnette (NRRA Executive Director) as their addition to that board. She’s a great addition and will keep us up to date with what’s going on.

Barry raised the issue that we have committee members who have not attended a meeting in a very long time. Discussion was held. It was agreed that at the next meeting we would come up with names of members who we’d like to request be officially removed from membership due to inactivity.

Julie updated all on the NCES wetlands permitting and the letter that DES sent to them asking them to amend their permit application to only include Stage 1 development. The original permit application was for all stages and once that hearing was held, the law states DES must give a decision. Instead, they took this highly unusual step of sending this letter.

Next Meeting: After discussion it was agreed to meet again on Tuesday, October 19th, 6:30pm.

Minutes from July 20th meeting was approved. All in favor.

Katherine raised the issue of the broken chairs in the town hall meeting room. She hopes that new chairs can be purchased with some of the federal funding we’ll be receiving.

Motion was made to adjourn. All were in favor.

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