Published DateTo the editor,
The saying goes "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". I am responding to Ken Knowlton's recent letter regarding his "leap of faith" concerning the Belmont town voting on March 12th.
As he stated, Ballot Question #2 reads as follows: "Are you in favor of the adoption of Amendment #1 as proposed by the Planning Board for the town Zoning Ordinance as follows: adopt a definition of and regulations for Municipal Solid Waste Transfer Stations and allow Municipal Solid Waste Transfer Stations only in the Industrial Zone." This seems like a fairly general and harmless question but, in reality, it is neither. Some definitions need to be looked at. A Municipal Solid Waste Transfer Station is, in layman's terms, an area that is used for storing garbage that has been brought to the site, sorting the garbage, and trucking it somewhere else for disposal. As Ken stated, who knows what is included in that garbage? Household garbage can contain any number of hazardous materials including mercury and other heavy metals, drugs, disposable diapers, and anything else that people might throw away whether it is dangerous or not. So, if we agree with this article we are agreeing to allow all kinds of garbage to be brought into Belmont to be disposed of. The other problem is that this would be allowed in the Industrial Zone, which most Belmont residents know by now is mostly above the underground aquifer that stores our water supply as well as that of Tilton and Northfield.
Some history must be considered for the promotion of this article. At the Deliberative Session for discussion of the town warrant, Belmont's planner stated, in answer to a question, that this article was placed on the warrant at the request of Bestway Disposal Company. They currently operate a construction demolition processing center on Route 140 in Belmont and have since 2005. This means that only trash from construction sites is supposed to be brought there. However, in past years, it was discovered that they had, on site, portable toilets, and, more recently, the local papers showed pictures of a fire on site with garbage strewn all around. Bestway is now part of Casella, which, according to its web site, service the trash needs of a large portion of New England. They want to convert this center to a solid waste transfer station. Bestway/Casella does not serve as Belmont's trash pickup provider. Therefore they want to bring in trash from other places and deposit it over our water supply.
This answers Ken's questions regarding where it would be located. It is not logical to think that any company does not put the profit motive first. The best way that we can "trust" that our water supply is not contaminated is to not allow solid waste to be placed over our aquifer. In this case, an Ounce of Prevention really is worth a Pound of Cure.
Therefore, I urge all Belmont voters to vote "no" on Question #2. It is yours and your family's health that you will be protecting.