As New Hampshire strives to improve its solid waste management, state lawmakers have debated a number of bills aimed at strengthening landfill safety and promoting waste reduction. Bills related to landfill siting regulations and food waste disposal are gaining attention among the house and senate committees. The state’s recently updated solid waste management plan and its goals for the future have raised growing concerns over New Hampshire’s loose regulations and possible environmental impact on public health.

Two bills, House Bill 56 and House Bill 602 are aimed at establishing stricter regulations for the siting of new landfills, including greater setbacks from water sources than are currently in place to prevent contamination. Rather than providing site-specific regulations, New Hampshire’s current regulations require a minimum 200-foot setback from nearby bodies of water when locating new landfills. That’s about the same distance as the length of two basketball courts.

However, HB 56 proposes to change this regulation by requiring landfill operators to hire hydrogeologists at their own expense to survey geological patterns such as soil type at the intended location in order to determine site-specific setback requirements, as opposed to the arbitrary 200-foot setback.

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Author: Sruthi Gopalakrishnan, Concord Monitor
Image: Geoff Forester, Concord Monitor