Board of Health Annual Report, 1999

The Board of Health includes three members, Chairperson Mary Krapf, Chris Allen, and Cedwyn Morgan. Our health agent is the very capable Jim Gareffi of Nashoba Board of Health. Jim and Mary are generally available on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:00 a.m. in Town Hall. The Board’s public meetings are the 2nd and 4th Monday of every month at 8:00 in the Selectmen’s meeting room. The principal activities of the Board in 1999 are summarized below.

Septic Systems: Because the due date for Board annual reports was moved up this year, we are unable to provide the summary statistics on septic inspections, permits, etc. that have been provided in recent annual reports. However, it is clear that the pace of new home construction in Ashby continued at a very brisk pace in 1999. Septic system permitting activities occurred at every Board meeting in 1999. It is the impression of the board that professional developers constituted a greater percentage of the septic system permit applicants than previous years, but this topic not been analyzed statistically. It is also the impression of the board that we saw perhaps fewer Title V upgrades than in the previous few years, which may be reflective of a shift towards new home sales. Septic permitting was primarily associated with single-family residences, but larger systems for the Shackleton School and the Pines Campground are also under discussion. Funds may be available in year 2000 from the revolving loan fund for Title V upgrades. Interested residents should contact the Board to determine if they qualify. The Board’s Health Agent, Jim Gareffi of the Nashoba Board of Health, is available Tuesday and Thursday at 11:00 a.m. in Town Hall for questions on the septic program.

Landfill: After a very long and arduous process preparing contracts and bid specifications, the contract for closure of the landfill was awarded this fall to the lowest qualified bidder, Schofield Inc. The bid price was approximately $940,000. The closure proceeded relatively smoothly and is largely complete, although some work remains to be completed this spring. Town Engineer Paul Bergquist was primarily responsible for preparation of the bid specifications and oversaw work by the contractor.

After the closure was completed, odor emissions from the landfill became a problem. Solar-powered flares to burn off gases emitted from the landfill gas vents have been ordered and should be installed in the first week of February 2000 to alleviate this problem.

The town will continue to incur costs for monitoring ground water quality in the vicinity of the landfill, and for maintaining the vegetation and surface on the landfill.

Transfer Station: Schofield, Inc. has operated a small transfer station on behalf of the Town at the landfill. The transfer station includes a full recycling program, with no charge to accept recyclables. Trash is accepted in Town of Ashby bags, which are available at Store 31 and the Ashby Market at $3/bag. The Mr. Mike’s store has elected not to provide this service to Town residents. The transfer station is open every Saturday.

Commercial Waste Transporter Regulations - The Board passed comprehensive regulations governing the commercial transport of solid waste and recyclables in December 1999. Important components of these regulations include the following:

All known commercial transporters in the area have been provided with copies of the regulations. Residents interested in the specifics of the regulations are encouraged to contact the Board.

MRIP Grant: The efforts of chair Mary Krapf, with the assistance of town resident Bill Stanwood, have procured a $50,000 grant from the Massachusetts Recycling Initiative Program to be divided among five towns (including Ashby) interested in developing a regional strategy for waste management.