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March 2021: An e-Bulletin For Municipalities

Date: March 31, 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

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many of us to do business differently. NHDES has set up a COVID-19 webpage as a clearinghouse for information related to any changes in NHDES program activity. NHDES will do its best to communicate any changes directly with our program customers and stakeholders, however please check this webpage regularly, as we will update information as necessary.

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

The 2020 Annual Facility Report (AFR) and Post-Closure Report (PCR) forms, used for reporting required information regarding the operation or monitoring and maintenance of your solid waste facility (active or inactive) are available on the Solid Waste Reporting and Compliance webpage. Do not use the 2019 forms to report your data. Additionally, when you have completed your form(s), the Solid Waste Management Bureau requests that you submit them in PDF via email to solidwasteinfo@des.nh.gov or upload via OneStop, when possible. Completed forms are due by March 31, 2021. If you have questions, please contact the SWMB at (603) 271-2925.

Solid Waste Operator Training & Certification Program

As long as the current State of Emergency is in effect for New Hampshire, all solid waste operator certifications fall under the Emergency Order #29. For currently certified SW Operators, this means that they receive an additional 180 days to renew their license and there will be no late fees accepted. If operators do not renew within their 180-day extension in addition to the 90-day statutorily authorized grace period, their certificate is expired and in order to work at the facility, they must submit an Initial Application and attend Basic Training to be recertified. Operators are still required to submit verification of 2.5 hours of continuing professional development hours and the SWOT Program has provide pre-recorded classes as well as scheduled NHDES-Hosted SWOT Classes through June. All certificates are to be posted on the wall of the SW Facility and the expiration date is on the certificate. For your convenience, a list of certified operators with their expiration date is also online. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Tara Mae Albert, the SWOT Coordinator at Tara.M.Albert@des.nh.gov or (603) 271-3713.

Do you have a NEW Transfer Station Attendant? Have they registered for the required Basic Training Class through NHDES?

All operators at permitted solid waste facilities must be certified through NHDES. The first step is for the operator to submit an Initial Application and attend Basic Training. Applicants will be sent Instructions for Registering and Logging in. This is a two-step process that each operator must follow. The next Basic Training Course is on June 9 and applicants may register at any time with the confirmation being sent after receipt of initial application and fee. If you have any questions, please contact the SWOT Program at SWOT@des.nh.gov or (603) 271-3713.   

Workshop Announcement for those who Monitor and Maintain a Closed Solid Waste Landfill in New Hampshire

There are over 250 inactive (closed) landfills in New Hampshire that require post-closure care, including inspection, monitoring and maintenance. In recent years, NHDES has noted that post-closure reports have either not been filed or have been missing important information required by Env-Sw 800 of the Solid Waste Rules. Due to these deficiencies, NHDES staff will be offering two opportunities to provide stakeholders with information that will help address those deficiencies. We strongly recommend facility operators, municipal officials who manage the post-closure activities at municipally-owned landfills, and other interested parties partake in one of the two events. Click on the hyperlinks for more information and to register. Post-Closure Landfill Monitoring and Maintenance on March 31 from 9 AM-Noon and Landfill Post-Closure Care for Consultants on April 1 from 12-1 PM. There is no cost for this training, and it will count toward Solid Waste Operator Training credit hours.

SW Operator Training & Certification While Emergency Order is still in Effect: No Late Fees Accepted

While Emergency Order #29 is in effect and for the 90 Days after it is lifted, no late fees for Solid Waste Operators will be accepted by the Solid Waste Management Bureau. This has been in place since May 2020, but we are seeing an uptick in late fees being submitted. If a late fee is submitted, it will be returned to the entity that wrote the check with a cover letter requesting the appropriate amount. The applications will also be returned with the check and will not be processed until a complete package is sent back to the state. If you have any questions, please contact Tara Mae Albert, SWOT Coordinator at Tara.M.Albert@des.nh.gov or (603) 271-3713.   

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 Emily.Nichols@des.nh.gov; Kathleen Bourret, NHDES at (603) 271-2902 or Kathleen.Bourret@des.nh.gov.

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

During the 2019 legislative season, the New Hampshire 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 amy.doherty@des.nh.gov.

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

NHDES is strongly urging community water systems and municipalities to make reasonable precautionary preparations for a multi-year drought and for an increase in demand on water systems by vacation homeowners spending more time than usual in the state. For the latest drought conditions and guidance, sign up for Drought Updates and visit the NHDES Drought Management webpage. The State of New Hampshire has approved a $1.5 million initiative to provide financial assistance to low-income homeowners on private residential wells that have gone dry or have very little water due to drought conditions. If you have concerned homeowners, direct them to complete a survey and send an email to droughtwellinfo@des.nh.gov for more information. Among other issues, fugitive dust is presenting problems for many New Hampshire residents. If you operate a sand & gravel yard or you own open property with minimal vegetation, remember that controlling the dust is your responsibility.

Reminder that Burning Construction and Demolition Debris is Prohibited

Now that spring is here and the snow cover is mostly gone, remember to get a permit from the Fire Warden if you want to have a fire. Remember that the only acceptable material to burn is brush (less than 5” in diameter) and leaves. Burning construction and demolition debris is prohibited.

The NHDES website got a makeover

On December 8, NHDES launched a new website, complete with an update to the navigation system. All the information you need and want is still there, but is organized in a much more intuitive way, based on environmental topics. There is also a keyword searchable document library that has all NHDES fact sheets, reports, guidance documents, outreach materials and more at your fingertips. The site is fully mobile-ready, making accessing the information you need even easier. If you have trouble finding something or need help of any kind with the new website, please email us at pip@des.nh.gov.


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