The Town Reminder

South Hadley's number one source for local community news.

Category: South Hadley Landfill

Green Bag program reduces trash, increases recycling

by Town Reminder

By Kristin Will
Staff Writer

SOUTH HADLEY –The Green Bag program has reduced the amount of trash residents toss yearly by 17 percent and upped recycling by four percent since its inception last July.
Total tonnage of trash has gone down by 713 tons compared to last year’s number of 4,204 tons. Dually, South Hadley recycled 1,491 tons of trash – 61 tons (four percent) more than last year.
“Those are very good numbers,” said Department of Public Works [DPW] Superintendent James Reidy. While residents currently don’t pay a fee to dispose of trash because of the landfill hosted by the town, Reidy said if the DPW had charged to dispose of trash last year, South Hadley would have saved $50,000 with the reduction in waste via the Green Bag program.
In 2007, a Solid Waste Advisory Committee [SWAC] was formed and charged with researching trash options for when the landfill’s capacity to accept trash expires and subsequently closes. Over the course of one year, SWAC met and reviewed all trash-related issues. They decided a pay-as-you-throw program would most benefit the town while simultaneously teach residents to reduce their waste by recycling as much as possible. In July of 2011, the program was implemented and residents switched over to using the required small or large green bags to dispose of their trash.
“I’ve certainly seen a reduction in our trash,” said Reidy. “All in all, the implementation went very well.”
Residents were given a grace period of about four weeks to get into the swing of the new trash disposal system. One fear, Reidy said apprehensive residents had, was a spike in illegal dumping with the program. “We really haven’t seen that,” he said. “Beyond those first two to four weeks, people got used to the program.”
Trash in any other bag than the green bags is not picked up and is labeled with a sticker explaining why the reason why it wasn’t accepted. Trash bags that are too heavy also generate a sticker notifying the resident of the issue, but are accepted if in the correct bag.
“A lot of folks are saying they’re saving money,” said Reidy. “It certainly did give people the thought they should start recycling.”
As for why the amount of recycling tonnage was not closer to the amount of less trash tossed, Reidy said South Hadley residents, for the most part, were already recycling well. Additionally, the recycling total is calculated by tonnage, not volume. Nationwide, companies are making efforts to use less plastic in their containers and packaging as well as thinner boxes. Reidy figures the four percent recycling increase was generated by residents who were not recycling whatsoever.
“I can’t complain,” he said about the program. “For a program like this, which is a pretty big change, people adapted very quickly.”
He doesn’t anticipate any major changes to the program in the future. Currently, a pilot program is being conducted using a new type of trash bag. Called a wave top bag, this trash bag doesn’t have strings to close the bag. Rather, it has four plastic flaps. Seventy people participated in the program, on which the DPW and Recycling Center are still compiling data. Reidy said it’s too early to tell if the DPW will make a switch. Prices of the trash bags will remain the same, at .50 cents per small bag and $1 per large bag.
“All in all I’m certainly happy about the program,” said Reidy. “I think the town should be proud of the job they did on this.”

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Quarterly inspection shows crack in landfill berm

by Town Reminder

Design team says its not a concern

By Kristin Will
Staff Writer

SOUTH HADLEY – Differential settlement is the cause of a crack which formed in the landfill’s Cell 2D stage 2 Mechanically Stabilized Earthen [MSE] berm.
Discovered through a Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection [DEP]-required quarterly inspection in December, the crack is located in the pavement of an access road on top of the Cell 2D vertical expansion which was constructed in the spring of 2011. The crack cannot be seen on the exterior facing of the MSE berm, as it lies underneath the access road.
ARM Group Inc., the design engineers of the project, said at an April 10 Selectboard meeting they anticipated some settlement to occur in the structure, especially because of the site location. The landfill sits on old, buried materials from the town’s former dump. “We knew this was going to settle,” said Brian Wheeler of ARM. “That’s why we selected a MSE berm – it’s a pliable structure. This is the type you would use at this site.”
The berm is rotating slightly inward, which Wheeler said is normal. “If we had seen the berm show any indications of moving outward, that would be something that would raise red flags.” The interior portion of the berm has settled more than its exterior, which Wheeler surmises contributed to the crack.
An extensive investigation was performed by ARM of control point and settlement data, said Wheeler. “We have a lot of monitoring points on these berms.”
In order to repair the crack, ARM engineers recommended it be filled with grout to prevent any water from seeping through. “You don’t want water to get down into your berm,” said Wheeler. The crack was grouted and sealed, and ARM has continued to monitor the problem site. A follow-up inspection of the site has not indicated any other cracking or anything else “that would warrant further concern,” said Wheeler.
Information about the crack and subsequent repair was submitted to the DEP in January. This same information was also disseminated to Department of Public Works officials as well as the town.
Although the DEP did not certify the work performed by ARM, it did look into the repair process and asked ARM to perform additional monitoring to collect data in the area of where the crack was located.
“We did not want to wait,” said Wheeler of their decision to move forward with the grouting process. “We took the appropriate action.”
DEP officials also asked for an independent engineer to review ARM’s recommendation and repair and provide an assessment. Wheeler said that third party review is in progress. The data collected from the additional weekly monitoring has been reviewed by the DEP.
As for the settlement of the berm, Wheeler said, “We don’t see any cause for concern” and reassured the Selectboard there was no additional problematic movement within the berm. “We really view this as a maintenance issue,” he said. Design officials will continue to monitor the area, as well as conduct the quarterly monitoring.
The town receives monthly reports of landfill operations.