Today’s Gazette reports:
Shall the city expand the regional landfill over the Barnes Aquifer? No, said 63.8 percent of Northampton voters who chose to answer the nonbinding question at the polls Tuesday.Mimi Odgers of Water Not Waste spoke with David Pakman of Northampton Community Television in City Hall last night after the result became known. NSNA’s Adam Cohen recorded the brief interview:
In the final analysis, 5,482 voters said the city should not expand the landfill over the aquifer, while 3,107 voters supported an expansion over a recharge zone of a public drinking water supply area.
The no vote carried in every precinct in every ward and was only slightly higher in Ward 6, where the regional landfill off Glendale Road is located.
Video: Mayoral Debate, 10/27/09; Landfill Risks; Costs of Alternatives to Landfill Expansion
It’s not clear to us how Mayor Higgins estimates such dramatically higher costs for out-of-state waste disposal. Here is page 30 from Stantec/HDR’s 8/17/09 Landfill Alternatives Study presentation (630KB, PDF). It shows how Northampton’s current $68.07/ton average net tip fee for commercial customers compares to some out-of-state disposal options…
Gazette: “Controversial landfill question on ballot Tuesday” (10/31/09)
The non-binding referendum question addresses the proposed expansion of the landfill over a public drinking water supply area and has sparked no small amount of controversy in recent weeks, dividing residents, political leaders and candidates for mayor in both Northampton and neighboring Easthampton.
Barnes Aquifer Protection Advisory Committee: “Why Aquifers and Landfills Don’t Mix”
Video: City Council Meeting of 10/15/09; Odgers Challenges Accuracy of Mayor’s Campaign Website
Water Not Waste Achieves Ballot Question Signature Goal (9/15/09)
Video: Special Meeting of the Board of Public Works and the City Council, 8/21/09; Landfill Ballot Question No. 2
Northampton’s 34% recycling rate lags that of many nearby communities. By operating a landfill, the city has an incentive to tip more tons of waste, not reduce them… The claim that there will be “no new environmental risk for the city” seems scientifically impossible. As noted at Zero Waste America, “even the best liner and leachate collection system will ultimately fail due to natural deterioration.” It might be plausible to claim the environmental risk from landfill expansion is small, but it’s not zero.
Video and Slides: Public Forum on Innovative Approaches to Manage Northampton’s Solid Waste, 11/19/08
Paradise City Forum: Landfill and Aquifer