Northampton Landfill Waiver from DEP 06-23-2006


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Northampton Landfill Waiver from DEP 06-23-2006

  1. 1. COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ONE WINTER STREET, BOSTON, MA 02108 617··292·5500MITT ROMNEY STEPHEN R. PRITCHARDGovernor SecretaryKERRY HEALEY ROBERT W. GOLLEDGE, JrLieutenant Governor Commissioner MEMORANDUM To: Steve Ellis, Actin~Regir, WRO · From: Bob Golledge, Co er Date: June 23, 2006 ·==- -..·--··--- · RE: Approval of Waiver Request, Northampton Landfill Application for Expansion, Northampton, Massachusetts (Transmittal #s W016447 and W074719) The City of Northampton has submitted a site assignment application to the Department for a proposed lateral expansion of the existing municipal landfill. As part of the site assignment application, the proponent is asking for a waiver from the siting criteria for Zone lis at 310 CMR l6..40(3)(a)1, arrd Potentially Productive Aquifers (PPA) at 310 CMR 16A0(3)(a)l 0. The specific regulatory requirements are as follows: (3) Facility .Specific Site Suitability Criteria . (a) Criteria for Landfill Facilities (Restricted Areasl. No site shall be determined to be suitable or be assigned as a landfill facility where: 1 . any area of waste deposition would be within a Zone II area of an existing public water supply well; 10.. any area o:fwaste deposition would be within a Potentially Productive Aquifer unless: a. the proponent demonstrates to the Departments satisfaction, based on hydrogeological studies, that the designation ofthe ar·ea as a potentially productive aquifer is incorrect; b the proponent demonstrates to the Departments satisfaction, based on hydrogeological studies, that the aquifer cannot now, nor in the reasonably foreseeable futrue, be used as a public water supply due to existing contamination ofthe aquifer; or c the area has been excluded as a "Non-Potential Drinking Water Somce Area" pursuant to 310 CMR 40.0932, or as otherwise defined at 310 CMR 40.0006: TheMassachusetts Contingency Plan. The Site Assignment Regulations at 310 CMR 16 40( 6) govern the waiver pmcess Ibis information is available in alternate format Call Donald M. Gomes, ADA Coordinator· at 617·556-1057, IDD Service -1-800-298-2207 MassDEP on the World Wide Web: http:l/www mass gov/dep ( ) Printed on Recycled Paper
  2. 2. BackgroundThe City ofNmthampton commenced landfill operations at the Glendale Road site in the 1960s(see Site Locus Map). The City of Easthampton permitted the Maloney Well through theMassDEP Division of Water Supply in 1976. Throughout the 1990s the City ofNmthamptonreceived permits for lined expansions of the Nmthampton landfill at the existing site. Thelandfill cunently accepts municipal solid waste from numerous communities in the region OnAugust 2, 2001 the Department, as part of the Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP),approved a conceptual Zone II delineation for the Maloney Well in Easthampton thatencompasses both the existing Nmthampton Landfill and the proposed expansion Additionally, a number of existing land uses in Easthampton are within the Zone II and pose a potential threat to the well, including two closed Easthampton landfills which lie between the Nmthampton Landfill and the well.The Maloney Well is located within the Barnes Aquifer, a very extensive buried valley, sand andgravel aquifer extending from the Westfield River in the south to Nmthampton The nmthempmtion of the Barnes Aquifer consists of three "lobes", the east and west lobes flowing northtoward the center of Easthampton and the nmthwest lobe flowing southeast toward the center ofEasthampton and then east/nmtheast toward the Maloney Well and the Connecticut River (seeMaloney Well Watershed map and Hydrogeologic Features map) The Northampton Landfill islocated in the nmthwest "lobe" The landfill is located approximately 16,000 feet west of the Maloney Well, but approximately 22,000 feet along the groundwater flow path. The Maloney Well is located down gradient of the confluence of the three lobes. The Maloney Well is a free flowing artesian (confined), gravel developed well, installed in 1975 . Due to elevated manganese concentrations, the well has not been used since November 1996 The City of Easthampton developed a new well (Nonotuck Well) to replace the Maloney Well capacity.. The Maloney well is, however, maintained as an active well, allowing Easthampton the flexibility to use the well on demand, as needed. Easthampton also uses several other wells (Hendricks Street wellfield, Pines Well and Brooks Street Well) and these wells provide adequate sources to allow the Maloney Well to be used only for active back-up Proposal The City ofNmthampton is pwposing to expand the Northampton landfill onto a parcel of land adjacent to and nmth of the existing landfill operation (see Conceptual Grading Plan) The expansion areas, designated as Phases 5 and 5B, were purchased by the City in 1988 for the purpose of the expansion.. The proposed Phase 5 area is 15.6 acres and the pwposed Phase SB area is 4J acres. The current permitted landfill is expected to run out of capacity at the end of 2007 or early 2008 The proposed expansion area, including the area of overlap onto the existing landfill (an additional 9.5 acres) will provide an estimated gross volume (not including the volume taken up by the liner and cap) of2,237,000 cubic yards, which will provide 21 years of additional capacity at the cunent disposal rate. The applicant is requesting a waiver ofthe requirements of310 CMR 1640(3)(a)l and 10, with respect to the siting ofthe Phase 5 and 5B expansion areas in the Zone II of a public drinking 2
  3. 3. water well and within a Potentially Productive Aquifer. The existing landfill is also locatedwithin the Zone II and the PP AThe Department reviewed several documents submitted as part ofthe site assignment applicationwith regard to the waiver request, including: • Northampton Landfill Sanitary Landfill Phase 5B, BWP SW 01 Site Suitability Report Volume 1: Technical Report • Northampton Landfill Sanitary Landfill Phase 5B, BWP SW 01 Site Suitability Report Volume 2: Appendices • Northampton Landfill Phase 5 Expansion Contaminant Transport Scope of Work • Summary Report on Contaminant Transport Model, Northampton Sanitary Landfill Phase 5 Expansion Project • Letter dated June 6, 2006 fiom Stantec to MassDEP: Northampton Sanitary Landfill- Phase 5 Expansion, BWP SWOl Site Suitability Report Transmittal No . W016447- Supplemental Information • Letter dated June 12, 2006 from Stantec to MassDEP: Northampton Sanitary Landfill- Phase 5/5B Expansion, BWP SWOl Site Suitability Report Transmittal No . W074719- Supplemental Information Criteria for Granting a Waiver The Department has reviewed the waiver request submitted with the Site Assignment Application based upon the waiver criteria established in the Site Assignment Regulations at 310 CMR 16.40(6).. Those regulations indicate that the Commissioner may waive a facility-specific site suitability criterion when the Commissioner finds that strict compliance with the criterion "would result in undue hardship and would not serve to minimize or avoid adverse impact." The regulations indicate that the Commissioner can only grant a waiver upon a finding that it "is necessary to accommodate an oveniding community, regional, or state public interest and the granting of the waiver would not diminish the level ofprotection to public health a:rrd safety and the environment" In reviewing a waiver request, the regulations also include a number of factors for consideration: • The availability of other suitable sites in the affected municipality or regional district; 1 • Whether the site is in a prefened municipality as defined in M GL c.J 11, sl50A h; • The minimum facility size required to reasonably meet essential waste ha:rrdling activities; • Whether the waiver will result in environmental benefits in excess of those that could be achieved in the absence ofthe waiver; • The extent to which the proposed facility is part of an integrated solid waste management activity; and • Whether the solid waste ma:rragement objectives ofthe proposed project could be achieved in the absence of the waiver . Each of these factors is discussed in greater detail with regard specifically to the Northampton waiver r equt:st 3
  4. 4. 1 . The availability of other suitable sites in the affected municipality or regional districtThe Site Suitability Repmt, Volume 1 includes a detailed siting analysis, the intent of which wasto identify other suitable sites inN mthampton for a landfill that would meet all the siting criteriafor a suitably sized landfill capable of managing the amount of waste cunently disposed at theNmthampton LandfilL Because the landfill is owned by the City ofNmthampton, the analysisonly looks to identify other sites within Nmthampton. The results of this siting analysis indicatethat one area on the westem City line meets all the site suitability criteria . However, as indicated in the analysis, this location is zoned residentialmral and it is anticipated that there would be considerable opposition to siting a new landfill facility in that area because the area is undisturbed forest surrounded by residences The proposed Phase 5 and 5B expansion is proposed in a previously disturbed area that includes an old gravel pit adjacent to the existing landfill, which has been operating in this area for approximately 40 years.. Therefore, the City is of the opinion, and the Department concurs, that expansion of the existing facility is prefer able to constructing a new facility in a "greenfield" location On a regional basis, the Northampton Landfill pmvides valuable disposal capacity to numerous other communities At least 44 communities deliver residential and commercial solid waste to the Northampton landfill, .39 ofwhich have contractual agreements with the landfill 23 of those communities sent all of their municipal solid waste to the Nmthampton Landfill in 2004. If the Northampton Landfill were not to expand, this waste (47,631 tons in 2004) would need to be diverted to the other regional solid waste disposal facilities in the area. These facilities (The Pioneer Valley Resource Recovery Facility in Agawam, the S. Hadley landfill, the Chicopee landfill and the Granby landfill) are all operating at 01 near their permitted capacity. 2.. Whether the site is in a prefeiTed municipality as defined in M.G.L. c.lll, sl50A1h The Solid Waste Act of 198 7, which established M.GL. c .111, sl50A 1h, encouraged the establishment of both regional solid waste disposal facilities and the siting of new facilities in municipalities that were not already served by another solid waste disposal facility. Therefore, site assigmnents are prefened in municipalities that are not already participating in a regional refuse disposal district This preference is not applicable to Nmthampton. The Nmthampton Landfill, which operates as a regional facility, serving numerous other municipalities, is an existing landfill seeking an expansion. It is not a new landfill being sited in a municipality with another landfill that already serves that municipality 3. The minimum facility size reguired to reasonably meet essential waste handling activities The proposed expansion will add new capacity at the existing landfill and will provide sufficient new capacity to manage solid waste, at the cunently permitting capacity of 50,000 tons per year, for another 21 years 4
  5. 5. 4. Whether the waiver will result in enviwnmental benefits in excess of those that could be achieved in the absence of the waiver The existing Nmthampton Landfill is located in the Zone II of the Maloney Well and in a Potentially Productive AquifeL The proposed landfill expansion will be more protective of groundwater than the existing landfill because a more stringent and protective standard liner design will be employed as a result of the recently revised solid waste management facility regulations and additional mitigation measmes will be employed. The mitigation measmes will improve protections fiom the existing landfill as well as provide further pwtections fm the aquifer These mitigation measmes fall into two categmies: those that are directly related to the construction and operation of the landfill; and those that will take place beyond the landfill In both cases, these mitigation measures will enhance pwtection of the Maloney well and the associated Zone II and Potentially Productive Aquifei In the absence of the waiver the· -~ortharnpton Landfill will need to be closed and capped and it is unlikely that the mitigation measmes would be implemented. At the landfill, Nmtharilpton will be required to develop and obtain MassDEP approval of a contingency plan for specific actions that will be taken in the event that significant leachate is found in the secondary leachate collection system. The leachate collection system can function as an "early warning" system of potential leaks in the primary liner Having a contingency plan in place to address such a situation will allow for faster response by th!:> City should there be a pwblem with the liner. In addition, the City will upgrade the enviwnmental monitming system around the landfill by installing more monitming wells and set aside money in a MassDEP approved financial assurance mechanism, that can be used for remediation should there ever be a problem with the liner OJ leachate collection system Outside of the landfill, Nmthampton will need to adopt land use protection zoning and non- zoning controls for the N mthampton pmtion of the Maloney Well Zone II. These zoning and non-zoning controls are designed to pwtect public drinking water supplies by limiting the types of activities that can occur in a Zone II In addition, N mthampton will need to do further wmk to ensure household hazardous wastes are not disposed in the landfill. This will reduce the amount of potentially toxic materials disposed and promote better management, and in some cases recycling, of such materials. In the absence of a waiver, the Nmthampton Landfill will run out of capacity at cuuent filling rates in 200 7 or 2008. At that time, the landfill would be closed and capped, and all the municipalities that cunently use the landfill would need to seek altemative waste disposal options These mmicipalities would need to haul their solid waste to other solid waste facilities that are farther away than the Northampton Landfill, resulting in mme truck traffic and substantially longer haul distances with a consequent increase in air pollution . 5. The extent to which the pwposed facilitY..i§. part of an integrated solid waste management activity The Northampton Landfill operates as part of an integrated solid waste management activity Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with .39 communities, it has established 5
  6. 6. requirements fen dive1ting Iecyclable materials and household hazmdous wastes from thelandfill In addition, the Landfill, w01king with regional waste management 01ganizations suchas the Hilltown Resomce Management Cooperative, the Franklin County Solid WasteManagement District and the Springfield Mateiials Recycling Facility Advis01y Bomd, haswo1ked to reduce the aiTiount and toxicity of wastes disposed at the landfillThe MOU gumantees access to the landfill fen the communities fo1 a pe1iod of five yems as wellas establishing a ceiling tipping fee that can be I educed but not exceeded The MOU se1ves thegoal of integ~ated waste management by establishing restJictions and conditions fo1 use of thelandfill for disposal MOU communities must, fo1 example, ag~ee to establish, maintain and/01regularly pmticipate in dive1sion prog~ams for unacceptable wastes and recyclable wastes tokeep them out of the landfilL The MOU requires all member communities to establish amandatory recycling ordinance and have access to at least one household hazmdous waste collection each yem. A summmy of mate1ials Iecycling access by community is provided in the site assignment application. F01 example, through regional coopemtion, the City and member communities have reciprocal household hazmdous waste collections, allowing residents of one community access to collection events in other communities.. Seveml othe1 exaiTiples of promotion ofintegmted waste management se1ving to maximize recycling and dive1sion of toxic mate1ials fiom the landfill are presented in Appendix K of the site assignment application. All of these actions se1ve to reduce the volume and toxicity of solid waste that must be disposed in the landfill and maximize the volume of solid waste 1ecycled 01 dive1ted to more approp1iate disposal options 6. Whether the solid waste management objectives of the proposed project could be achieved in the absence of the waiver In the absence of the waive!, the existing peimitted area of the N01thaiTipton Landfill will Iun out of capacity in 2007 or 2008 At that time N01thampton and the communities that cunently use the landfill for disposal of then non-recyclable waste mateiials will need to seek other disposal options . Given the lack of sufficient disposal capacity in Massachusetts and the fact that most • other facilities me already opemting at 01 nem then pe1mitted capacity . In addition, if the landfill cannot expand, the prograiTis put in place as a 1esult of the MOU and cooperation aiTiong the 1egional solid waste management distJicts (that has resulted in a high Iecycling mte and diversion of toxic mate1ials in these communities) could diminish as each community is 1equired to find a new solid waste management option with other disposal facilities By granting a waive! f01 the expansion of the N orthaiTipton landfill, the landfill will gain significant new capacity fo1 management of solid waste for the City and the othe1 municipalities that dispose of solid waste at the landfill, providing approximately 21 years of additional disposal capacity at the cuuently pe1mitted tonnage limit of 50,000 tons pe1 yem . The City also Iemains committed to continuing to work with its municipal customeis to maximize somce I eduction and recycling Decision 6
  7. 7. I have reviewed the waiver request submitted by the City ofNorthampton and hereby grant awaiver that will allow the expansion of theN orthampton Landfill in the Zone II of the MaloneyWell and the Potentially Productive Aquifer. I find that strict compliance with the criterionwould result in undue hardship and would not serve to minimize or avoid adverse impact I alsofind that the combination of land use controls, monitoring measmes and continued removal oftaxies fiom the waste stream will ensme that the Maloney Well can be used as a public water supply in the futme . Moreover, the granting of the waiver is necessary to accommodate an oveniding community, regional and state public interest and will not diminish the level of protection to public health, safety and the environment for the following reasons: • The contaminant transport model demonstrates that a release of contaminants fiom the landfill would be below cmrent detection limits at the welL The Northampton Landfill contaminant transport model indicates that even under the worst-case scenario, where contaminants are released to the groundwater in leachate, the concentrations of those contaminants would be diluted to levels below cmrent detection limits for Drinking Water Program analytical methods The model results indicate no measmable net impact at the welL As groundwater flows, the Northampton Landfill is approximately 22,000 feet from the well. • Mitigation measmes or controls will provide greater protection for the Zone II and PP A than cmrently exists . Mitigation measmes must be employed that will not only provide further protection to the aquifer fiom the proposed expansion area, but will increase protection of the aquifer from the existing landfill These mitigation measmes include upgrading the environmental monitoring system at the landfill so as to better detect any contaminants that may come from the landfill; establishing a remediation financial assmance mechanism that could also be applied to remediation activities at the existing landfill; implementing zoning and non-zoning controls for the Northampton portion of the Zone II which will limit land uses and activities that could impair the Zone II; and expanding household hazardous waste collections in the communities served by the landfill, thereby reducing toxic materials fiom being disposed in the landfill • The fail me ofleachate collection systems is low for a landfill with a double-composite liner with a leak detection system. The likelihood of the worst-case scenario occuning is very low given that the expansion area will be required to have a double-composite liner with leak detection . Fmthermore, a site-specific "action leakage rate" will be developed dming the permitting process that will require specific actions to be taken should leakage above that rate occur through the primary liner. This serves as the fust level of monitming of the performance ofthe landfill In addition, the landfill environmental monitoring system will be upgraded.. This serves as the second level of monitoring of the performance of the landfill. • The Nmthampton Landfill is near capacity and there are few local options available Without the waiver, the Nmthampton Landfill will soon run out of capacity and will have to close This will require the City and the other municipalities that cunently dispose of solid waste in the landfill to have to seek other disposal options. Closme of the N mthampton Landfill will further reduce the available solid waste disposal options and capacity in Massachusetts and will likely result in an increase in expmt of solid waste to out of state facilities 7
  8. 8. • Other potential sources of contamination lie closer to the well The Northampton Landfill and the Maloney Well (the well for which the Zone II has been delineated) have co-existed since 1976 . The recent Zone II delineation for the Maloney Well captmes an existing condition which includes both the existing landfill area and the proposed expansion area of the Northampton Landfill, two closed landfills in Easthampton, and numerous other potential contaminant sources (i.e dry cleaners, cemeteries, gas stations, etc.) which likely present a greater concern than the proposed landfill expansion because these potential contaminant somces lie closer to the well than the Northampton Landfill .• Mitigation measmes The City will be required to put in place several mitigation measmes as a condition of the waiver. These measmes, discussed above, include: o Leakage contingency plan o Upgrade the enviromnental monitoring system o Establish a remediation financial assmance mechanism o Put in place zoning and non-zoning controls in the Northampton portion of the Maloney Well zone II o Expand household hazardous waste collections for those municipalities served by the landfill 8
  10. 10. 3000 6000 9000 FeetGeogr.~plllc Data is from MassGIS ~ June 2006