What has the Department of Environmental Protection done for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2014?
Every year the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) composes a list of their accomplishments, so the tax payers of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can see what efforts are being made. Some of the topics that we found particularly intriguing are; “ The growth of Solar Energy on Closed Landfills and Formerly Contaminated Sites”, “ The Charles River Water Quality Hits A- Levels” and “ Commercial Organic Waste Ban and Clean Energy from Food Waste”.
The DEP has continued to encourage the installation of solar photovoltaic arrays on closed municipal landfills, with the partnership of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. An example of this initiative is the Shaffer Landfill in Billerica. Closed in the 1980’s, this landfill has been transformed into a 6-mega-watt solar electricity producer. This site will generate enough electricity to power approximately 1,200 homes for a year. The initiative is meant for municipalities to convert undesirable land into an opportunity to produce clean energy for their communities. An incentive of generating electricity on site is reducing the amount of electricity that must be bought from distribution companies.
In 1995 the “Clean Charles River Initiative” was put into place. The MA DEP, along with other partners, has worked to assess the pollutants contaminating the river and diverted them to improve water quality. The river’s water quality has reached an A- level from the US EPA for the first time. This is the cleanest the water has been in decades allowing for a safer river for swimming and boating.
In October of 2014 the Commonwealth implemented a ban on the disposal of commercial organic wastes for those who dispose of one ton or more per week. This initiative is a first in the nation, and effects institutions including supermarkets, universities, hotels and hospitals to name a few. This ban will divert over 450,000 tons of food waste per year from landfills and direct it to composting facilities. There, the waste will produce renewable fuel from the material.
Other topics included in this report include:
- Advancing Zero Emission Vehicles
- New Regulations for Sustainable Water Management
- New Waste Site Cleanup Regulations Amendments Published
- National Achievement Award or Chicopee Falls; Brownfield Success Story
For more information on these topics and other information from the MA DEP Visit: http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dep/about/goal14report-web.pdf