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League of Women Voters

BOARD OF HEALTH MEETING 10/12/22 - Observer Report

The following was submitted by the Marblehead League of Women Voters. It is a synopsis of a town meeting in Marblehead. Marblehead Beacon is not responsible for the accuracy of the report and did not edit it prior to publishing.


BOARD OF HEALTH     Date of Meeting – 10-12-22 -Hybrid

LWVM Observer - Thomas Krueger


Members in Attendance: Andrew Petty, Todd Belf-Becker (chairperson), Sec. Andrea Flaxer, Joanne Greer Miller, Helaine Hazlett






The State of Massachusetts has a policy allowing only certain material to be disposed in solid waste.  The list is extensive and includes asphalt, gypsum, concrete, commercial food material > 0.5 ton per week, white goods (large appliances), etc.  (See Massachusetts 310 CMR 19.017(3)(a) for the full listing).  New as of 11/1/22 will be a ban on mattress and box springs, and also 11/1/22, textiles (clothes, sheets, fabrics, etc.).  When Andrew was asked about where other such banned materials might be taken or recycled, he enumerated the many options. In MHD, for example, glass is taken by JRM, leaves can be deposited in yard waste areas, textiles can be placed in the many bins at the TS (they are resold and made into other materials), cathode ray tubes can be brought to the light shed, mattress and box springs can be brought to the TS and for $25 each recycled (a firm UTEK separates out the materials and recycles the metal and fabric.)  (To find out more, call the Health Department.)


In regards to violations of the waste ban, the following policy was discussed: for account holders, the first violation is a verbal warning, the second, written, and a third violation results closing of the account and no further use of the TS.  For non-account holders, a first violation is a written notice, and a second violation results in no further use of the TS.  This policy would be mailed to all account holders and posted at the scale house.  To monitor the waste dumping process, the waste will be looked at first prior to the dumping and again after the waste is dumped to be sure no banned substance was “hidden” in other waste. 


This policy had been voted on and passed at the last meeting and the above was the documentation of the policy. The rationale behind the waste bans is that the state of MA wants to limit what goes in landfills. What can be recycles, should be recycled.  



  1. An amendment to the OPM contractor for the next step in the TS renovation is needed.  This is the first step in the process.
  2. Household Hazardous Waste - the pickup of household hazardous waste happens quarterly.  The next time will be on 12/7/22.  This will be posted on-line and requires preregistration, filling out fields on an on-line form, and payment by credit card.  As before the waste is pickup at the house.
  3. Leaf collection - the following are the weeks that leaves will be picked up curbside on the day of the resident’s usual trash and recycling pickup: the week of 10/24, week of 11/14, week of 11/28, week of 12/12. In 2023 it will be the weeks of 4/23,5/15, and 6/5.  The leaves should be placed in paper bags.
  4. COVID - the report continues to be generated and posted each Friday. The following statistics may not be reflective of the true incidence as many cases are diagnosed via home rapid antigen tests, which are not reported.  Only tests done at doctor’s offices or via PCR are reported. Given these caveats, the total cases is 4,497; active cases in the past 2 weeks = 58 (this represents an increase.); the average daily incidence (per 100,000) = 18.9 (higher); PCR tests = 636; percent positive tests = 8.96% (higher). Of note, last year at this time was about the same.  The same advice about positive cases holds: quarantine x 5 days, then if improving mask x 5 days.  When asked about some algorithm to estimate the total number of cases based on positive PCR, Andrew said that there is none. Monitoring wastewater for incidence has its own issues as it is not in every district.  On another note, Andrew strongly recommended the flu shot.  This is based on the experience in the Southern Hemisphere where it was fairly severe. 
  5. Transfer Station Update - Andrew has been meeting with Dan Weeder, the architect, about Option B that had been voted on previously.   The specifics of the scale house and staff support building which are to be joined together was discussed.  This would need to have a good view outside for the scale house. The pit is to be clad with solar panel.  Compressor ramp replaced. Each of the other aspects of the TS - staff kiosk, gates on entrance from Green Street, swap shed, parking, etc. - are being evaluated.  It is hoped that all the plans and specs could well written and completed so that bids could by February or March 2023.  The better written the plans and specs, the less chance for high bids.  Before the bidding process, however, the plans has to go before the Zoning and Planning Boards.



One resident mentioned that more signage needed to be up about the requirement of stickers to use the TS.  In the past it has been a limitation of personnel to check for stickers, but with the use of more cameras, it will free up staff for this task.  NOTE - STICKERS ARE AVAILABLE THE SECOND WEEK OF DECEMBER.



Ms. Miller asked if the MHTF (Mental Health Task Force) can still meet virtually, as the committee is large making in-person difficult.  This will be looked into, and it is likely they will be able to continue meeting virtually as this is not a regulatory committee.


Ms. Miller also wanted to alert the board to the COA Speakers talk on 10/19 at the COA that will be a panel discussion with mental health experts about life transitions.  The mention of mental health issues opened the discussion about the continued high need for counseling and to perhaps meet with MHD Council Center in November, especially before budget discussions begin.


The next scheduled meeting of the BOH is for 11/15/22