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April 2021: An e-Bulletin For Municipalities

Date: April 30, 2021

The Municipal EcoLink is a monthly e-bulletin designed to inform you of the latest environmental ideas, trends, grants, rules and more from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES). We respectfully request that the following is electronically distributed or otherwise made available to your municipal committees, councils and boards. Please feel free to post it on your municipal website as well. You may read past issues at The Municipal EcoLink.  


NHDES Response to COVID-19

Starting May 7, NHDES will be reopening the Concord and Portsmouth offices to the public. 

2021 Water Infrastructure Financing Webinar Series

The New Hampshire Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) Programs will be hosting the 2021 Water Infrastructure Funding Webinar May 4-13, 2021. The webinar will include a series of 2-hour sessions focusing on funding programs administered by NHDES and topics including funding program updates, crafting warrant articles, green infrastructure, energy efficiency, asset management and more. The intended audience includes current/future loan recipients, community/financial decision makers, public works directors, city/town managers, commissioners, selectmen, municipal and regional planners, consultants/engineers, operators, and others interested in the NHDES-administered funding programs. Registration information and a preliminary agenda will be available soon on the SRF webpage. Questions/Contacts: Emily Nichols, NHDES at (603) 271-8320 or [email protected]; Kathleen Bourret, NHDES at (603) 271-2902 or [email protected].

Multi-funder Workshop: Grants for Land Conservation and Water Supply Land Protection

On Wednesday, May 5, 2021, the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) will hold a Natural Resources Webinar from 8:30 am-12:30 pm with presentations from six NH programs, including the Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund for grants available to protect water supply land and other funding sources available for protection of water supply land. Registration information is posted on the LCHIP website

2021 NHDES Virtual Drinking Water Source Protection Conference

May 19-20, 2021 – NHDES will hold its 2021 Drinking Water Source Protection Conference online.  It will feature roundtable discussions and presentation such as using federal and state dollars to conserve water supply lands, climate impacts affecting public water systems, NH public health study concerning exposure to contaminants in drinking water, and much more!  For further information, Technical Credit Hours, (TCHs) for NH Water Operators, and registration please access the link above.

New Dock Registration Rules

NHDES has filed an Interim Rulemaking Notice and proposed draft interim rules regarding dock registration with the Office of Legislative Services that can be viewed here NOTICE OF RULEMAKING: Env-Wt 1000 Dock Registration. If approved, the rules will create a streamlined registration process for owners of legally existing docking structures in non-tidal waters. Once the owner of these docking structures obtains a valid registration, the repair or replacement of the docking structures are exempt from the permitting requirements of RSA 482-A:3. Once issued, a valid registration does not relieve the owner of the obligation to comply with the requirements in RSA 482-A and 485-A relative to water quality. Please send any comments on the proposed interim rules to: [email protected].

NH RSA 154:8-b Limiting Use of Class B Fluorine-Containing Firefighting Foams

During the 2019 legislative season, the NH Legislature adopted Senate Bill 257 relative to PFAS in firefighting foam and firefighter protective clothing. NH RSA 154:8-b includes requirements designed to reduce environmental contamination and to reduce the risk of public health impacts for firefighters and New Hampshire citizens. NH RSA 154:8-b prohibits foams containing PFAS for use in testing or training on or after January 1, 2020. NH RSA 154:8-b also bans manufacturers of Class B foams containing PFAS from knowingly selling or distributing these foams in the State of New Hampshire unless otherwise specifically exempt. Refer to the jointly issued Technical Bulletin by the Department of Safety and the Department of Environmental Services that includes Frequently Asked Questions.

If Class B firefighting foam containing PFAS is discharged, NH RSA 154:8-b requires the municipality of the fire department that discharges Class B foam containing PFAS to notify NHDES within 48 hours of making the discharge. To report a discharge of Class B foams containing PFAS, contact Amy Doherty of the Waste Management Division, Hazardous Waste Remediation Bureau at (603) 271-6542 or [email protected].

Solid Waste Operator Training & Certification Workshops: Municipal Officials

The SWOT Program is offering two upcoming online workshops that may be of great interest to municipal officials that have oversight of their transfer stations. The first is Facility Managers, Part 1 where NHDES SWMB Staff will discuss requirements for all permitted solid waste facilities including town transfer stations.  Attendees at this session will learn about record keeping, reporting and permit requirements in addition to resources available to stay in compliance with these items. The second is a collaborative effort between NHDES and NRRA entitled Understanding Recycling Markets and Practical Tips. This session will address successes and challenges NH communities have been faced with in regards to recycling. Instructors will share practical tips for recycling and following the ever-changing recycling market. Comments and questions should be directed at Tara Mae Albert, the SWOT Coordinator, at [email protected]

Notice to Solid Waste Facility Owners and Permittees - 2020 Annual Facility Report Forms 

On April 9, 2020, Governor Sununu authorized a temporary modification of certain reporting deadlines through Emergency Order #29 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the ongoing pandemic, this emergency order is still in place. Therefore, the submittal deadline of 2020 Annual Facility Reports for active solid waste facilities and 2020 Post-Closure Reports for inactive solid waste landfills is extended by 90 days from March 31, 2021 to June 29, 2021. If you have questions, please contact us at [email protected] or (603) 271-2925.

Notice to Closed Landfill Permittees – Continued Outreach on Post Closure Care

NHDES Solid Waste Bureau is continuing to provide information and outreach on Post Closure Care for Closed Landfills. Be on the lookout for an Important Notice that will go out to stakeholders in the next couple weeks, containing a questionnaire and information on Landfill Gas (LFG). In addition, if you missed the trainings offered recently on Post Closure Care the recordings of the training can now be accessed on the NHDES Solid Waste Operator webpage. For questions, contact the Solid Waste Management Bureau at [email protected]

Join us for the 2021 Virtual Drinking Water Festival! 

This year the Festival is virtual and includes the third annual Poetry Contest for third, fourth and fifth graders, making this a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, Math) educational opportunity. The 2021 Virtual Festival is packed with over 40 videos and activities that connect with student’s daily lives and explore how to keep water clean. The online lessons and activities are designed for students in third through fifth grades, but with the timeless importance of clean water, students in other grades (and adults) can benefit from them as well. All materials are free and openly available. Students participating in the Poetry Contest should submit entries by April 30, 2021. The Virtual Water Festival and Poetry Contest is now available at our new website www.nhwaterfestival.org. There, you will find the virtual lessons and also information about how your school can participate in the free in-person annual festival in May 2022. 

Drought Concerns Continue  

The entire state is experiencing abnormally dry and moderate drought conditions and the forecast for May does not provide assurance that enough precipitation will be received to turn conditions around. NHDES is recommending that outdoor water use restrictions be implemented and conservation messaging be spread across your communities. Community water systems and municipalities should report restrictions to NHDES for posting on the NHDES website using the electronic reporting form. More information, including guidance on implementing restrictions, may be found on the NHDES Drought Management webpage.

Low-Income Residential Drought Assistance Program (DAP)

The Low-Income Residential Drought Assistance Program is a financial assistance program available to qualifying NH homeowners affected by drought to help restore reliable water to their homes. 
The program will continue to be available to New Hampshire’s low-income residents for the foreseeable future because of the ongoing drought conditions. 

Electric Vehicle Purchasing Information

Municipalities, school systems, and some non-profits can purchase electric vehicles (EVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and higher fuel-economy vehicles off the NH state contract. EVs and PHEVs make sense for light-duty fleet diversification and have been shown to have a lower total cost of ownership than conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles. Plus, there are the added benefits of using less energy and emitting less greenhouse gases and other air pollution. To see available vehicles, check out the 2021 Vehicle Index, which includes purchase price, a total-cost-of-ownership, and fuel-economy values. The vehicle contract is located at this link on the NH Administrative Services website. If you have questions regarding the contract process, please direct them to: [email protected]. Questions concerning vehicles should go to the dealers.

Grants Available to Protect Water Supply Land

The New Hampshire Drinking Water and Groundwater Advisory Commission is targeting up to $2 million from the Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund (DWGTF) for grants to protect public water supply land in 2021. The grant application process, administered by the Commission through NHDES, begins with a brief eligibility application due on June 18, 2021. Projects eligible for funding under the program involve permanent protection of land from which water flows to public water supply sources – specifically wellhead protection areas and land designated as "hydrologic areas of concern" within water supply watersheds. Projects that involve the protection of land for future water supply sources will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis; guidelines are available. After NHDES reviews the eligibility applications, applicants will be asked to submit a more extensive funding application by September 9. The Trust Fund can cover up to 50% of eligible costs, up to $500,000 per project. More information is available on the DWGTF website and by attending the workshop described below.

Reduce Dust

Attention public works officials: When using a conventional street sweeper to clean paved surfaces, ensure that the unit is equipped with functioning jets to spray water on the pavement to keep dust particles from flying around. Dust particles, when inhaled, pose a health risk and cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat. Minimize dust by using water with your sweepers. 

Earth Day 2021 celebrated Energy Efficiency Projects at the NHDES’ WRBP Franklin Wastewater Treatment Plant

An on-going project involves installation of a turbo-style blower to more cost-effectively provide the air necessary to optimize the biologic treatment processes used at the facility. The simple payback of project costs from electricity savings is less than one year and reduces GHG emissions by 142 tons; making this a win-win for the environment and for the Lakes Region sewer users on the WRBP system. The WRBP also recently replaced two 40-year-old emergency, back-up generators with a single, “right-sized” diesel generator made possible by a 50%+ power use reduction over the past two decades; even though wastewater flows have increased. The new generator will reduce GHG emissions by another 10 tons/year. Yet another win-win. For more information about the award-winning WRBP and its achievements visit: Winnipesaukee River Basin Program (WRBP) 
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