Water Not Waste Press Release: “Northampton BPW Plans to Move Forward with Landfill Expansion Vote”

We received this press release yesterday from Water Not Waste:


Northampton BPW Plans to Move Forward with Landfill Expansion Vote

Northampton, MA-January 12, 2010

The Northampton Board of Public Works is about to take an historic vote on whether or not to expand the Northampton Regional landfill in a Water Supply Protection District even though the citizens of Northampton voted overwhelmingly against landfill expansion in November. The following was sent to each member of the Northampton BPW and to all the Northampton City Councilors in response to the actions to be taken by the BPW at their next meeting on January 27th at 5:30pm.

The Northampton Board of Public Works will be voting on an application for the Northampton Regional Landfill to expand in a Water Supply Protection District. This will be an historic vote because all Water Supply Protection Districts in the state of Massachusetts ban landfills. It is a critical decision that will have significant impacts on residents of the City of Northampton for decades to come. It is even more important to understand the financial risks now that a private company, Volume Reduction Associates, is planning a state of the art transfer station in Northampton with the goal to greatly reduce the amount of trash that needs disposal.

In order to comply with best management practices to give Northampton citizens an open and transparent decision making process and to give Northampton citizens an opportunity to participate, it is requested that the Northampton Board of Public Works hold an open public meeting when this vote is taken and provide the following:

  1. advance public notice that is widely circulated

  2. a venue that can accommodate members of the public

  3. adequate time for public comments

  4. broadcast by NCTV
Thank you.

Mimi Odgers is the Chairperson of Water Not Waste, an organization formed to fight against the landfill expansion located over the Barnes Aquifer. The group successfully placed a non-binding question on the November ballot that asked, “Shall the City of Northampton expand the Northampton landfill over the Barnes Aquifer?” which resulted in 64% of the citizens voting NO against the expansion.

Contact information:
Mimi Odgers
P.O. Box 84
Northampton, MA 01061

See also:

Gazette: “‘Historic’ vote nears on Northampton landfill expansion” (1/13/10)
With the landfill slated to close next year, Ned Huntley, director of the Department of Public Works, said the board is anxious to make a decision after years of discussion.

“The board is looking to move a vote in the near future,” said Huntley. “They don’t want to sit on their hands much longer.”

Northampton Media: “BPW Poised to Vote on Landfill Expansion” (1/13/10)
Odgers single-handedly tripped up the BPW’s attempt to vote on the permit application at its January 6 meeting, when she pointed out to the body that no mention of the vote was contained on the BPW’s agenda…

Over the course of the past year, Northampton’s Board of Public Works (BPW) has spent the majority of its time trying to solve a host of financial, technical, and regulatory problems related to the city’s regional landfill on Glendale Road. It’s been an arcane story, involving multiple lawsuits, court-ordered real estate transfers, odor-sniffing contracts, a poorly-functioning landfill gas-to-energy plant, health studies, water quality studies, censures and consent orders from the commonwealth’s Department of Environmental Protection, and financial hemorrhage.

Northampton Media: “BPW Takes Emergency Measures to Retire Landfill Debt” (12/6/09)
Anne Marie Schauer, Financial Administrator of the…city’s Department of Public Works (DPW), presented recently updated landfill closure numbers to the Board. According to Schauer, compared to last year, the landfill closure fund is showing a gap of approximately $1.2 million. The city must retire the fund and pay off all landfill debt by the middle of 2011, when the currently active landfill cells are slated to close…

Video: Mayoral Debate, 10/27/09; Landfill Risks; Costs of Alternatives to Landfill Expansion
It would seem that Northampton could ship its trash today to Seneca Meadows – Seneca Falls, NY for a cost that’s comparable to the fee the Northampton landfill currently charges its commercial customers. Indeed, the capacity of landfills in New York and Pennsylvania to receive our waste might even increase over the next 20 years, as the Solid Waste Management Alternatives Study (PDF, 2.7MB) notes…

Barnes Aquifer Protection Advisory Committee: “Why Aquifers and Landfills Don’t Mix”

Water Not Waste: Mayoral Debate on WGGB channel 40 (10/20/09)
Michael Bardsley stated, “I don’t think that we should have an expansion unless we can guarantee the health and safety of the residents living near there and also the environment.” He also added that the City will probably have to close the landfill as the expansion would not be completed before the current landfill would reach capacity. This he said would provide “Northampton an opportunity to change our habits in the way that we deal with our trash.”