State to Hanover: Alter Town Pollution Safeguards

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/23/2018 10:58:29 AM
Modified: 10/23/2018 10:59:21 AM

Hanover — The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has asked the town Department of Public Works to make various changes, following a set of complaints that alleged the town wasn’t doing enough to protect the environment from roadwork-related pollution.

“A lot of the things (they) brought up, we were in the process of doing,” said Peter Kulbacki, who, as public works director for Hanover, has overseen a road project along Route 120 above Mink Brook, as well as various asphalt storage and processing facilities that were at issue in an Oct. 18 letter from the state.

Keith DuBois, assistant director with the state department’s Waste Management Division, wrote that his investigation found no call for fines or corrective actions, but he did ask the town to take more steps to protect the watershed.

While visiting a brook alongside a turnout on Moose Mountain Road, DuBois said he found “a large amount of asphalt in the brook sediment ... readily identifiable if you dig into the sediment with your hands.”

DuBois did not recommend removing the recycled asphalt product, because to do so “would likely cause significant ecological harm,” but he did ask Kulbacki to install erosion control devices that would prevent the continued erosion of road base into the brook.

Kulbacki said the asphalt hasn’t been slowly accumulating, but was rather the result of a single large storm in 2005, which washed out a number of roads, including parts of Moose Mountain.

Ten years ago, he said, the town made some changes to prevent continued erosion, and those stabilization measures seemed to be working.

However, he said, he would review the site to see whether more work is merited.

The DES investigation was the result of a series of at least 15 complaints made by David Vincelette, who owns land above Mink Brook on Lebanon Street. Vincelette has been engaged in a long-standing and wide-ranging dispute with the town; Vincelette has said his main motivation is to protect Mink Brook from contamination. Earlier this year, the town seized one of his three properties for unpaid taxes, and Vincelette said on Monday that he expected the town to raze a cabin-style structure on that parcel today.

DuBois, who visited Hanover in June, also said the town should clean up asphalt waste that had spilled over the embankment of Route 120 during the construction project.

Workers, Dubois wrote, “have pushed or tossed asphalt waste over the embankment and down toward Mink Brook. This practice does not appear to be consistent with any paving or road construction specification and detracts from the area aesthetics. ... The Town’s management of this material on Town construction projects sets an example for the Town’s residents.”

Kulbacki said the town cleaned those materials up in July, at the conclusion of the roadwork project.

Dubois also said the town lacked appropriate controls at a former asphalt storage facility on Giles Road; DuBois found evidence that materials had spilled over a containment berm, and down an embankment, though it falls short of wetlands.

Kulbacki said the town stopped accepting asphalt at the site because of changes in the market, and there are no plans for it to reopen in the foreseeable future.

DuBois wrote that should the facility reopen, the town should limit hours and staff it with an attendant. An asphalt processing facility on Greensboro Road showed no signs of asphalt migration, according to DuBois.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling can be reached at or 603-727-3211.

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