March 25: Ordinance to Ban Landfills from Water Supply Protection Districts Goes Before Planning Board and City Council Ordinance Committee

We urge concerned citizens to attend this public meeting:

PLANNING BOARD AND CITY COUNCIL ORDINANCE COMMITTEE in Council Chambers, Puchalski Municipal Building, 212 Main Street, Northampton, MA for public hearing:

7:00 PM Proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment to prohibit landfills in Water Supply Protection Districts

See also:

Gazette: “Northampton City Council shelves landfill expansion” (3/5/10)
[Ward 4 City Councilor Pamela] Schwartz said the resolution is about moving forward with a process that is stuck and had nothing to do with some “master strategy to get approval of a special permit.”

“This is intended not to bypass rules but to move forward,” she said, later adding that “there’s no subplot. No back-room drama.”

Northampton Media: “BPW Votes to Hold Off on Landfill Expansion Application” (1/27/10)

Bessette: Ban Landfills from Water Supply Protection Districts; Video and Transcript (2/25/10)
The citizens sponsored zoning amendment removes this exemption for a landfill in a Water Supply Protection District. This means all Water Supply Protection Districts in Northampton will ban landfills just as all Water Supply Protection Districts in the entire state of Massachusetts ban landfills because landfills have the highest contaminant threat to the water supply.

Rebuttal to Dr. Geoffrey Kuter’s Brief for Landfill Expansion (1/26/10)
We don’t share Dr. Kuter’s confidence that landfill expansion will not increase environmental risks. It is inevitable that the landfill liners will degrade and leak over time.

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

Key Portions of the Solid Waste Management Alternatives Study
A critical element missing from the study is an estimate of the value of Barnes Aquifer water at risk from contamination due to landfill expansion. Neither the words “Barnes” nor “Aquifer” appear anywhere in the study.

Wall Street Journal: “In the U.S., water managers in 36 states anticipate shortages by 2013” (2/17/09)

“Bringing Agriculture Back to Water – A Sustainable Solution for the 21st Century” (PDF) 
Because of water supply concerns, many observers and agricultural scientists (Postel 1992, Reisner, 1986) point out that desert irrigated agriculture is unsustainable. Salt build up due to evaporation in an arid climate eventually makes soils useless. Only enhanced flushing of the soils requiring ever-increasing amounts of water can stave off the inevitable poisoning (Postel 1992, Arax and Wartzman 2003)…

Based on the past, present and gloomy outlook to the future, we believe that the more natural and sustainable agricultural system for the U.S. is irrigated assisted rain-fed agriculture in the east and not desert irrigated agriculture in the west. Because of natural rainfall in the south only 6-9″ of irrigated water are needed for crops rather than the four feet needed in Arizona and California…

Paradise City Forum: Landfill and Aquifer

Water Not Waste Launches to Save Barnes Aquifer