BELMONT — Despite worries over possible contamination of drinking water, approval was granted Friday to Casella Waste Management/Bestway Disposal Services to accept municipal solid waste and to increase its total capacity from 153 to 503 tons per day.
The state Department of Environmental Services approval includes a modification to the initial request that requires Casella to construct and maintain a containment pad for temporarily staging leaking vehicles and for containing and extinguishing hot loads or those that are smoking or on fire.
In addition, the state will require Casella to monitor groundwater at the site because it is located over an aquifer used for drinking water for the communities of Tilton and Northfield. The company will also be required to produce and present a plan that identifies procedures for waste water and to assure that it won’t overflow.
As it stands right now, the Casella facility accepts only construction debris and recyclables at the site. That material is packed together and brought to Massachusetts for sorting and final disposal.
The new proposal, which has tacit approval from the Belmont Planning Board should all of the conditions of the DES be met, will allow household waste to be brought there by haulers, loaded into trucks and taken to one of Casella’s facilities in Berlin or Allenstown.
The proposal to accept municipal solid waste at the plant on Industrial Drive met with strong opposition from residents of Tilton and Northfield, whose interests were represented by the Tilton-Northfield Water District.
Their primary concern was permanent damage to the aquifer from spillage or fires. To address this, the water district said it plans on asking for the highest classification of groundwater monitoring and the state said it would support its request.
The Department of Environmental Services addressed other concerns submitted by residents in its order, including one addressing the above-ground fuel storage tank, which the agency said is permitted and up to standards, and leachate, which the agency said is not relevant to the proposed expansion.Editor’s note: The author has a financial interest in Casella Waste Management.
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