Tag Archives: pollutants

2016 Rain Barrel Time!

Belmont Residents Can Purchase Discount Rain Barrels

It’s rain barrel time in Belmont residents. Six years ago Sustainable Belmont partnered with Great American Rain Barrel to help residents conserve water and reduce flooding. To date, Sustainable Belmont has sold over 233 barrels. (Considering that each barrel holds 60 gallons of water that’s at least 13,980 gallons of water residents are diverting from Belmont’s over-burdened sewer-system each year). And, your plants will be happier to have non-chlorinated water feeding their leaves and roots!

Pictured are the green, gray and black rain barrels available for purchase through the discount program.

Great American Rain Barrel Discount Purchasing Program

Because of space requirements to store them at DPW, this discount program is offered just once yearly in the spring.

Each UV protected polyethylene rain barrel is manufactured in the USA from a recycled shipping drum and stands 39″ tall by 24″ wide and weighs 20 lbs. empty. The barrel comes complete with overflow fittings, drain plug, mesh screen for keeping out bugs and leaves, and a threaded spigot with a choice of two ports to use with either a watering can or a garden hose. The rain barrel arrives with simple instructions for fast and easy installation.

The Great American Rain Barrel comes in three colors; Forest Green, Earth Brown or Nantucket Gray and cost $75 to Belmont residents versus the retail price of $119; or $70 for an unpainted barrel.

To take advantage of this Belmont program please go to: https://www.greatamericanrainbarrel.com/p-124-great-american-rain-barrel-belmont.aspx

or call (800)251-2352.

The deadline for *ordering* is Sunday, June 18th at 5:00pm.
Barrels will be available for *pick up* Saturday, June 25th from 9:00-11:00am, at the Belmont DPW on C Street.

Gas Leaks Presentation

Gas Leaks in Belmont: A Presentation with Belmont Chapter of Mothers Out Front and Sustainable Belmont

Wednesday, April 27
7 PM
Assembly Room, Belmont Public Library

Did you know that within its 4.6 square miles Belmont has 80 gas leaks, with the oldest dating back to 1996? Of these, only 7 are scheduled to be fixed within the next 12 months. Gas leaks are coordinated with road repairs as much as possible, but still, every year the numbers increase. Here is a link to a map showing Belmont’s gas leaks as of December 2015, when there were 90 leaks.

Why should we be concerned about gas leaks? Public health and climate change. Gas leaks are a threat to health – they exacerbate asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Methane – the gas leaked – is an even more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Who pays for the leaked gas? We do. The costs for lost gas are passed on in billing and the gas company has little financial incentive to fix all but the worst leaks. Learn about efforts to hold gas companies accountable for fixing leaks and what you can do to help.

Free and open to the public.

Stormwater Working Group Meeting 12/14/2015

Our next meeting is Monday night, December 14, at the Assembly Room of the Belmont Memorial Library on Concord Avenue.  Agenda will include:

  • Cambridge Climate Change Vulnerability project I will be using this material from a December 3 presentation about the recently completed computer models of the impact of sea rise and storm surge on Cambridge waterways and drainage systems in order to lead a discussion about the possible implications for areas of Belmont adjacent to Cambridge.
  • Preparing for a public presentation by Glenn Clancy to the Board of Selectmen about stormwater monitoring results and management plans: our latest understanding from the Town Administrator’s office is that this presentation has been postponed to a likely date of Monday, January 11. Keep monitoring the Event calendar on the Town website for a Board of Selectmen’s meeting with an agenda that includes it.
  • Belmont Library Rain Garden proposal: We will review more lessons learned from trying to persuade and help the town to submit a proposal to implement a rain garden at the library using funds from the grant program “BWSC-NRD-2015-02 Upper Mystic Restoration”. We obtained support from the Belmont ConCom, and contacted all stakeholders, but suspended this grant-writing effort November 25 when it became clear there was not sufficient time to gain the necessary approvals for the proposal for the original December 11 deadline.  A new deadline of January 9 was just announced yesterday.
  • Pervious Driveway projects: there are now at least two pervious driveway projects recently completed in Belmont, one on School Street and one in the Winn Brook neighborhood, both with lessons learned for others interested in pursuing this type of project.
Time permitting, our agenda may also include:
  • MIT Water Summit: We will touch on some of the interesting presentations and panels at this 2-day annual summit as they apply to Belmont
  • MIT Climate workshop: I’ll describe a role-playing workshop aimed at engaging citizens on climate change challenges in a city or town, including flooding. Members of the MIT Science Impact Collaborative were invited to conduct one in Cambridge yesterday, and I participated.  For the sake of the training of graduate students at the MIT Urban Studies program, an MIT professor would be willing to conduct a similar project in Belmont. Anyone interested in pursing this?
  • Belmont ZBA special permit regulations: several of us attended a ZBA meeting this fall during which town staff and the ZBA were reluctant to require stormwater mitigation measures for proposals to increase a property’s violation of lot coverage requirements without more specific guidance on what exact mitigation measures did or did not meet requirements; addressing this concern would require someone drafting up new regulations to cover special permits on properties less than the 2500 square feet covered by the town’s stormwater bylaw regulations.

Meanwhile, of possible interest are some additional web resources I’ve encountered recently:

At the Belmont Stormwater Working Group Dropbox location you can find earlier presentations, minutes from previous BSWG meetings. Here, and on the stormwater tab of the Belmont Citizens Forum web site, you can also find other storm water-related  material.

Green Burial Panel – Watch on BMC

If you missed it, you can now watch the panel presentation on Belmont Media Center!

Many thanks again to Stacey Hammerlind of the Belmont Health Collaborative for her endurance and vision in organizing the recent panel for Green Burials. Many thanks to Judith Lorei, Heather Massey, Ruth Faas, and Raya Gildor for bringing their expertise to Belmont.

Recycling Day – Special Collections!

Mark your calendar!

May 9th from 9 – 1 PM
Town Special Collection Recycling Day
Location TBA

There you can recycle items that CANNOT be taken curbside. They are:

  • Large Rigid Plastics (lawn furniture, storage bins, trash barrels, etc.)
  • Styrofoam (clean and dry)
  • Textiles – old clothing (ripped, worn, etc.) and shoes
  • Paper Shredding (a donated service)
  • Electronics – anything with a cord (*Note: these are taken at Butler Elementary School for a small fee as part of their PTA fundraiser)

Safer Personal Care Products

Sustainable Belmont will again talk about Safe Personal Care Products at the Belmont High School this coming April. As part of the BHS Hallway Health program, a group of volunteers will present information on the most common chemicals of concern in these products and provide information on safer alternatives. Silent Spring Institute, among other groups, has helpful guidance for consumers. Major Endocrine Glands

Thanks go out to Nancy Forbes for spearheading this important contribution and to Marzina Bockler, Lucia Gates, Marha Cohen, Jeri Weiss and Judy Otto for their work on this event!

The concerns regarding chemicals, such as parabens and phthalates, in personal cares products range from harm to the water supply and ecological chain to hormonal disruption and subsequent non-communicable diseases related to those hormonal impacts. A Washington Post article, Are parabens and phthalates harmful in makeup and lotions?, explains the concerns.

Infographic from One Green Planet

Belmont Uplands

The Coalition to Preserve the Belmont Uplands and Winn Brook Neighbrhood, Inc. is a non-profit corporation. More than a dozen Coalition volunteers are supported by hundreds of area residents. They are currently seeking funds for future legal and expert fees related to the permitting process in support of its mission, among other efforts.

At a recent presentation hosted by Sustainable Belmont on April 2, 2014, Anne-Marie Lambert presented a brief history of the Belmont Uplands as well as a Belmont perspective on the risks to wildlife and flooding from development in this area. You can walk with Anne-Marie on one of her educational, family-friendly tours by writing to her at the Belmont Citizens Forum for more information.

Idith Haber of the Coalition presented the history of the Coalition’s efforts to preserve the Uplands, the status of the building permit application, and Belmont’s new stormwater by-law and its applicability to the project.