Transfer Station Committee Meeting Minutes

Meeting date: 
Tuesday, October 8, 2019


Transfer Station Committee 

October 8, 2019


Committee Chair: Joy Nowell 

Town Administrator: Dennis Pavlicek

Volunteer Committee Members: Andrea Crowell, Darren Finneral, Rob Naughton, Sydney Bryk, Joan Burritt, Margo Steeves, David Blohm, Jack Fisher, Bruce Mackenzie, Betsy Courant, Bob Borowski, Katheryn Holmes, Jeff Estella, Bob Davis, Mickey Noyer, Jennifer Sweet, Liz Moult.


Ms. Nowell called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.



Ms. Nowell welcomed all committee members and expressed appreciation at the large turnout and the interest exhibited by all for the Town of Newbury and the Transfer Station operations. She reviewed the meeting structure and agenda topics, covered below.


Transfer Station Status

Mr. Pavlicek reviewed the challenges facing the Transfer Station (TS) as follows:

• The TS is less than three acres in size, and a portion of that area is a landfill. There is no permeable cap on the landfill. When it was designated, the town was smaller and there was no requirement to put on a cap. Drinking water tests have been conducted regularly with no abnormalities to date. 

• A neighbor of the TS contacted the DES and complained about the brush burning activity at the TS. The Town met with DES and discussed different strategies to handle brush disposal moving forward.

• DES expressed concern regarding the potential for pollutants released into the air when brush is burned. Also discussed was the question of disposal of the resulting ash from the brush burning. There is no state regulation concerning the disposal of ash so it could be mixed with the leaves.

• Brush burning takes a long time, creates a stench and often results in lingering fires.

• Mr. Pavlicek noted that the neighbor who complained would be OK with the currently arrangement for leaf collection at the TS if the brush pile was taken care of.  

• Mr. Pavlicek read into the record the following memo submitted by Sydney Bryk, Newbury Recreation Director:2019 October 8, It has come to my attention that the brush hasn’t be[en] maintained at the transfer station for the past couple of months, and the only solution being considered as of right now is extending the transfer station to the top of Fishersfield. The residents of Newbury voted for Fishersfield to be used for recreational purposes, which I intend to do by fixing up the property and maintaining it. It hasn’t been thoroughly maintained and/or taken care of the way other town properties are due to leadership and accountability. This lack of leadership and accountability has caused the space to become unappealing to the public and disorganized. I want to take the initiative and reverse the lack of attention to the property and maintain it is an integral part of our town.

I understand the problem at the transfer station with the brush and the limited available space they have but I don’t think moving the problem to a recreation property is going to be beneficial as a long-term solution. It’s going to turn into a long-term problem, by limiting complete access to the upper field for recreational use. The gate will need to be locked because the brush isn’t going to be monitored seven days a week. I plan on utilizing and making Fishersfield a presentable recreation area, the only reason we are considering moving the brush pile to the top of Fishersfield is because the fields haven’t been maintained properly.  I plan on changing that.

I plan on utilizing Fishersfield more for events and activities, especially during the summer for summer camps and family activities. I don’t think it is the safest place with children being around constant traffic going back and forth down the road which is right next to the camp building. If the brush is only opened on Saturday and Sunday, I still believe we will have vehicles that try to drop off their brush during the week and then I’ll be having to deal with those encounters while supervising and running camps. I honestly think it will come back to me or recreation employees dealing with the brush situation if it’s moved to Fishersfield because that is my department area and where we will be working most of the time. 


Remedies/Solutions Research

Mr. Pavlicek discussed the following:

• One of the strategies discussed with DES involves hiring a contractor to come in and chip or grind the brush on site. Neighboring towns currently utilize that approach including Bradford, Sutton, Warner, Sunapee and New London. It was noted that some of these towns also do burn some of their brush.

• Discussion followed regarding how a grinder works, the size of the apparatus needed, several contractors who offer this kind of service, the annual cost, and the frequency of service.  

• Contractors included four companies that Mr. Pavlicek contacted in the area (Dirt Doctors, Hammond Grinding & Recyling, and two others).

• The size of the grinder is a concern, given the small size of the TS location.

• Cost estimates are in the range of $12,000 annually for multiple visits per year. The price tag includes removal of the chips from the site.

• Six months-worth of brush can be put through the grinder in four hours.

• Locations for depositing brush included the old Highway Garage and in back of the TS by Fishersfield.

• Regarding capping the landfill so it could be used for brush/leaf disposal would cost an estimated $1 million.

• Neighboring towns handle leaf composting/grinding in a variety of ways. It was noted that composting/grind leaves at the Newbury TS is not possible because people sometimes put things other than leaves in the bags – which can damage a grinder/composter.

• A part-time person is being hired to inspect the leaf deposits and monitor the area.  


Committee Member Suggestions

Suggestions included the following:

• Fine the people who are violating the TS guidelines.

• Launch an educational outreach program.

• Hire someone to monitor the leaves and inspect contents of bags.

• Use the mandatory TS sticker renewal process as a way to educate residents about the new rules, etc.

• Increase the monitoring of TS stickers on vehicles to address the problem of out-of-town folks using the Newbury TS.

• Find another location for brush deposits since the grinder equipment needs more room to operate than what is available at the TS location.

• Use the old Highway Garage for brush collection or use the open area to the right in back section at TS adjacent to Fishersfield.  

• Consider having surveillance cameras on-site at the TS to monitor the non-resident usage of the TS.

• Mr. Pavlicek noted that at least 5-acres is needed for a brush collection site in order to accommodate the size of the grinder. He asked committee members to offer suggestions on possible sites. He added that all four grinder contractors have looked at the Fishersfield location and agreed that their grinder could access the area.

• A suggestion to keep the brush collection at the TS and just keep pushing it back was met with negative feedback from DES, citing concern that it might end up near to landfill.

• Ms. Nowell suggested that all committee members make a site visit to the areas under discussion so everyone can see the limitations and challenges that exists regarding this issue.

• It was suggested that the Town contact the high school to offer a community service program for students to act as monitors at the TS. Concern was expressed about the fact that teenagers would be put in a position of monitoring adults.

• A final suggestion included the opportunity for the community to discuss and define what kind of transfer station the Town of Newbury should have.


Next Meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for November 6, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at the Town Office. 


There being no further business to discuss, Ms. Nowell thanked everyone for their interest and attendance. 


The meeting adjourned at 7:01 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Meg Whittemore

Recording Secretary

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