To The Daily Sun,
On March 26, the State Of New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Waste Management Division, will hold a public hearing at the Corner Meeting House at 7 p.m. regarding the expansion of the Bestway transfer station on Route 140 in Belmont. Bestway wants to haul garbage from other towns, increasing the capacity of this transfer station from 153 tons per day to 600 tons of solid waste per day.
This approval may have serious consequences for the taxpayers of Belmont. Let me explain why.
When Bestway first requested a permit they were approved to use the station for construction debris. They were supposed to separate the construction and other materials that people dump in their rented dumpsters. Anyone that has ever seen a dumpster knows that more than construction materials are in these containers. Then they obtained approval from the town to bring in garbage that was collected in our town. Without the town's permission, they started storing and cleaning out portable toilets. This went on for some time before the town became aware of it and had them removed. There was also a fire at Bestway's dump station which had the potential of causing pollution.
Our concern with Bestway is its location. It is directly over our stratified drift aquifer. A stratified drift aquifer is a shallow body of water about 20 feet plus or minus below the surface of the ground. It flows very slowly under the surface of earth and it would not take much to pollute our water supply. Three towns draw water from this aquifer: Belmont, Tilton and Northfield, consuming about 800,000 gallons per day. Our family has made this known to the selectmen, Planning Board and other interested parties for the last 14 years, that you cannot have industrial development over such a fragile resource.
To make things worse, most of the sand and gravel situated over this aquifer has been mined out making the receiving layer of sand and gravel that was once 100 feet, now down to 4 feet, which the Planning Board approved. There are areas in this town where the aquifer has been exposed with no receiving layer. A receiving layer is the number of feet below the surface ground that filters water through the sand and gravel that will naturally remove pollutants before it reaches the aquifer. The higher the receiving layer, the safer our aquifer will be.
We are hoping that this letter will motivate the townspeople to come to this very important meeting and we would expect the Town Fathers, Planning Board, and members of the Conservation Commission, as well as the Belknap County Conservation District to be there. Contaminating our aquifer would be a monumental disaster. Those voters who voted against the Belmont Mill should come to this meeting because $3.4 million is nickels and dimes compared to the cost of correcting a polluted aquifer which could run into many millions of dollars.
What has been spelled out here are facts. The state government has an interest in sustaining the purity of water in our state, which is why they are holding this hearing. But they need to see that the people who live in this town are also concerned with keeping their water clean. Unfortunately, this area over the aquifer was zoned for industrial use before anyone knew that the aquifer existed and hence its importance to our community.
The town has been reluctant to change the zoning over the aquifer due to the interests of industry already existing there. But, they should very actively prevent any further development that has the potential of polluting our major source of clean water, the aquifer, by not allowing activities such as a solid waste station, otherwise known as a garbage dump, to be situated there.
Therefore, we urge all citizens who want to keep the drinking water in Belmont pure and clean to come to this public hearing on Thursday, March 26, at 7 p.m. This also concerns the people of Northfield and Tilton as their drinking water comes from the same aquifer that serves Belmont. It is far better to prevent this pollution than to try to clean it up after allowing it to happen. Please come and voice your concerns.
George & Susan Condodemetraky