A bill that would change the way landfills are approved in New Hampshire has passed in the state’s House of Representatives and now moves to the Senate. Right now, New Hampshire’s rules require landfills to be at least 200 feet away from bodies of water. This bill would change that, basing the distance instead on how long it would take contaminated groundwater to travel from a landfill to a lake, river, or coastal body of water. It would ensure landfills would be far enough from bodies of water that it would take five years for contaminants to travel into the water.

Rep. Peter Bixby spoke in favor of the bill, saying it would protect the environment from leachate – also known as garbage juice – that could leak out of landfills. “Siting landfills where only where they will not harm groundwater and surface water is an overriding principle for our state’s economy, our tourism and our health,” he said. “If a potential landfill site fails this principle, it should not get consideration.”

Bixby used the example of a controversial landfill proposal in the town of Dalton, saying the new rules would prevent it. That landfill, proposed by Casella Waste Systems, has caused divisions in the town. “A gravel pit that would put a potential leak within six months of Forest Lake and within 12 months of the Ammonoosuc River should never be considered as a potential landfill site,” he said.

To read the full story, visit https://www.nhpr.org/nh-news/2023-03-23/a-bill-to-change-landfill-rules-passes-in-nh-house-moves-on-to-senate.
Author: Mara Hoplamazian, New Hampshire Public Radio
Mara Hoplamazian, New Hampshire Public Radio