LACONIA — The town of Belmont has filed a motion asking Superior Court to dismiss a suit brought against its Planing Board by the town of Tilton related to protection of the aquifer that roughly parallels Rte. 140 West that is a prime source of drinking water. Tilton alleges it was not properly noticed when the Belmont board took up the subject of Casella Waste System's plan to add a solid waste transfer component to the facility it operates just off the highway.
Tilton also alleges Belmont planners failed to consider the regional impact of such a operation when they approved Casella's plan.
The motion to dismiss filed by Belmont states that Tilton's motion is untimely because an appeal of a Planning Board decision must be made within 30 days of the decision. Belmont says Tilton filed its suit on August 27 — 31 days after the July 27 decision and seven months after a decision made on January 26.
Belmont Town Attorney Laura Morgan cited RSA 677:15 and noted that Tilton's Attorney Daniel Crean did not assent to her verbal request to dismiss.
The larger issue for representatives from Tilton and Northfield is some general anxiety, which was expressed by many residents at the N.H. Department of Environmental Services public hearing and at recent public hearing for a newly developed storm-water runoff plan and a hot-load plan, that the aquifer that all three communities use for drinking water may be compromised by Casella's operation above it.
Just recently, the Tilton-Northfield Water District asked the town of Belmont to join Tilton and Northfield and reclassify the aquifer from a "potentially valuable, stratified drift aquifer" to a GAA-rating — or "delineated wellhead protection area."
Belmont Land Use Technician Rick Ball said yesterday he reached out to the DES recently for some a GAA classification and was told that a solid waste transfer station, which is the additional process requested by Casella, is not a solid waste composting or solid waste recovery facility and would be allowed in a GAA zone.
Peter Beblowski of the DES wrote that according to New Hampshire DES rulesEnv-SW 104.54 a "transfer station means a solid waste collection, storage and transfer facility, which collects, stores and transfers solid waste, including non-recyclable waste."
Beblowski added that according to Env-Or 702.19 is a "resource recovery facility means any facility engaged in an activity beyond sorting or physical volume reduction methods to treat process solid waste into a usable secondary materials or products, including, but not limited to fuel, energy or compost."
He said a solid waste facility is a potential contamination source as defined by state law but it is not a prohibited use and doesn't "trigger the requirement for a groundwater release detection permit."
Ball also said that "Belmont ( s it related to the aquifer) is currently on an every other year inspection frequency; the GAA designation requires an inspection every three years. The "broad spectrum of investigations" (cited by Tilton-Northfield Water Commission Chair Scott Davis) are exactly what we are making now — making sure people are handling contaminants appropriately by following best management practices."
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