The News and Sentinel
(August, 10 2005)
IT MAY SOUND TOO GOOD
TO BE TRUE, BUT IT ISN'T
A few years ago Colebrook got a new building at the industrial park
and a sewer treatment facility upgrade, projects totalling $2 million,
for absolutely nothing. That¹s a deal you can¹t beat with
a stick, but you can beat it with a $6.5 million landfill closure
The town, after 13 years of setting money aside and two years of work
with DES, Casella Waste and Lynnfield Engineering, has pulled off a remarkable
feat with the recently inked deal to close the landfill on Titus Hill.
The plan involves adding waste on top of the existing landfill over about
four years to cap it, and installing a state-of-the-art water remediation
system to address runoff headed toward Lime Pond.
The original plan, just to close the landfill and put in a scaled-down
water remediation system, was going to require a $3.5 million, 15-year
bond. "If you added that to the school bond it was a $10.10 increase
to the tax rate," said town manager Donna Caron. "We just
didn't feel we could do it."
In the early 1990s the landfill had been capped with soil, but the
Department of Environmental Resources said it did not meet permeability
standards. Mrs. Caron said the town sought a second opinion from Rick
Barthelmes of Lynnfield Engineering in Danvers, Mass. He
agreed with DES, but suggested a method that's been used in his state
for years: haul in more waste to cap the landfill--thereby increasing
the scale of the project to $6.5--but use the revenue from the waste
to pay for it. To paraphrase Donna¹s reaction, it sounded so
crazy, it just might work.
Work it will, but it took a lot to get DES to sign off on the idea.
Public Works Director Kevin McKinnon put countless hours in, as did Mike
Sills of DES. Donna said the North Country's senators and representatives,
Mark Brady, John Gallus, Fred King and Eric Stohl, and Executive Councilor
Ray Burton have been a huge help. They all went to bat for the project,
accompanying town officials to a meeting with Mike Nolan shortly after
he took over as DES commissioner.
Titus Hill residents met with the selectmen on Monday night, and
Donna said they were very agreeable. "It is going to affect them," she
said. "Once the trucks start coming up, we're going to have
the assessor go out and look at how it's affecting their properties."
Over the years the town has set aside $900,000, which will now be used
to get started on the water remediation system. The funds will be reimbursed
once revenue from the waste hauling starts to come in, and there will
even be extra funds left over to repave Titus Hill.
Colebrook's project is the first of its kind in New Hampshire, and
will be closely watched by DES in hopes that it may be replicated in
other towns. It's a forward-thinking move which we're happy to see our
town undertaking. Best of all, it's coming free of charge to the taxpayers--and
that's no load of garbage. --K.L.
(Issue of August 10, 2005)
Reprinted with permission, 11/8/2005