News and Information from CACs and the EMC
If you would like to submit a short update to appear on the “What’s New” page, please send an email to John DeGilio, EMC at-large member, at email@example.com.
Using the IBM Community grant to support the EMC’s community OutreachThe Environmental Management council secured a registration to erect a display at the Hudson River Sloop Club fall gathering well known as the “Pumpkin Festival”. This event is held in the River Front Park in Beacon, New York. It is well attended by a wide range of interests in the community at large. Music, arts, ethnic food, home-made products and unique jewelry are only a few of the things that attract many people to this event.
The purpose of the EMC’s exhibit is to engage the community in activities, supported programs, and recommended initiatives that are a regular part of the mission of the EMC. As a part of an IBM Community Grant secured by EMC member Peter Berasi, which provided $2000 to support EMC initiates, it has allowed the EMC to make the task of bringing environmental issues to the public. If an attempt to better fulfill that part of the EMC’s mission, enhancements have been made to make the range of issues more attractive to the public.
An example of being proactive about one issue close to the heart of the EMC’s mission is the use of reusable bags instead of plastic bags provided by the supermarkets. Part of the IBM grant has been used to purchase “reusable bags” that fold into a tiny ball easily carried in a pocket or purse. These bags were used as free examples of reusable bags and distributed to the large number of the members of the public that visited the EMC exhibit. This provided them with the opportunity to gain familiarization with the topics of environmental interest which were on display.
On another occasion members of the EMC participated in the National Drive Electric Week event held at Marist College in Poughkeepsie. More than 25 electric and plug-in cars were exhibited by local individual owners. The event was co-sponsored by Plug-In America, The Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association, and featured speakers and information on different vehicles available and how municipalities can promote electric vehicle infrastructure.
The New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse, and Recycling (NYSAR3), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and the Wrap Recycling Action Program (WRAP) are currently working to make plastic bag and film plastic recycling easier for consumers in New York State. Because “return to retail” is currently the best way to recycle plastic bags and film in most areas, the goal is to further populate WRAP’s current searchable drop off directory. This directory can be used by consumers to find plastic bag and film plastic recycling drop off locations close to them. We will be updating the directory and are seeking your assistance.
We’re looking to both verify and edit listings that are already in the directory and also add new listings to the directory. We’re asking that you please check the drop off directory at http://www.plasticfilmrecycling.org and verify locations in your area. Please let us know of any edits and additions that should be made to any plastic bag and film plastic recycling or participating retailer locations.
Edits or additions along with the name and address of the location(s) should be emailed to Tonya Randell of the WRAP program by Monday, July 24th. Please include “NY drop offs” in the email subject line.
Please note that this directory is a “living document” and we can make ongoing changes. This is also a great project idea for summer interns or volunteers. Once we have the list updated, it will not only be available on the WRAP website, but it will also be linked from the NYSDEC and NYSAR3 websites.
Hazardous Waste Disposal Day
The Dutchess County Solid Waste Management Department has organized a HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL DAY. The date and time has been set for Saturday, June 24th from 8:00am to 1:30pm. You can bring the materials to the DCRRA at 96 Sand Dock Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.
To participate in this program you must pre-register and pre-pay a $10.00 fee. You can register online by visiting https://www.co.dutchess.ny.us/HHW/Register.aspx or call (845) 486-3604 to register and schedule an appointment. (Registration opens in May) You could also make out a check payable to “Dutchess County Commissioner of Finance” and dropped off at the Dutchess County Division of Solid Waste, 27 High Street, Poughkeepsie NY 12601.
All of the following are ACCEPTABLE: hazardous wastes: Photo chemicals, non-latex driveway sealer, pool chemicals, creosote, kerosene, flammable liquids, metal polish, turpentine, stains, varnishes, strippers, thinners, gasoline/oil mixtures, brake fluid, auto fluids, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, adhesives, resins, solvents, oil & lead based paints, mercury containing devices, button cell batteries, computer monitors, CPU’s. fax machines, printers, TV’s, stereos, telephones, lithium and sealed lead acid batteries and fluorescent tubes
All of the following are NOT ACCEPTABLE: Ammunitions, explosives, asbestos products, latex driveway sealer & latex paint, building or construction debris, tires, furniture, medical waste, pharmaceuticals, propane or other flammable gas cylinders, radioactive materials, scrap metal, metal drums or empty containers and motor oil.
Dutchess County’s Superfund Sites and the EPA
Thanks to Ryan Farley, a Vassar College student volunteer with the Dutchess County Environmental Management Council we have an updated summary of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund sites in our area. The data reveal a range of contaminants but the two common substances are arsenic and polychlorinated ethenes which include perchloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE)
Sites include Haviland Complex in Hyde Park a carwash and laundromat septic that leaked into groundwater. Hopewell Precision in Hopewell Junction contamination as a result of dumping of solvents. Jones Sanitation in Hyde Park a landfill that accepted industrial waste and sludge that affects groundwater. Sarney Farm in Amenia contains a landfill with industrial wastes. Shanandoah Road in East Fishkill was a result of septic system leaks containing solvents that contaminated water wells. Most recently is a site along Wapingers Creek at Wappingers Falls in a space adjacent to an industrial park that contains sediments contaminated with heavy metals and other chemicals.
Dutchess County Environmental Management Council (EMC) members enthusiastically staffed the Urban Wilderness Festival and Environmental Fair, a community event co-sponsored by the The Environmental Cooperative at the Vassar Barns, on Sunday, September 25, 2016. The event offered attendees access to displays by over 20 local environmental groups, including The Dutchess Land Conservancy, Winnakee Land Trust, Solarize Hudson Valley, Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Ralph T. Waterman Bird Club. Nature walks on the Vassar Ecological Preserve and face-painting for kids were among the other activities featured during the afternoon. The event also minimized waste by engaging Zero to Go, a local event management firm whose goal is to eliminate landfill. The EMC works to inform Dutchess County about environmental issues and the status of the environment in the region. We were thrilled to be able to share the space at the newly renovated Vassar Barn with so many other organizations dedicated to environmental responsibility and sustainability.
Since early spring the EMC has been looking for a way to more directly serve the people of Dutchess County with the great collection of information we have accumulated to help work toward solutions to environmental problems faced by our community. We are partnering with the Environmental Cooperative at the Vassar Barns. to present an URBAN WILDERNESS FESTIVAL & ENVIRONMENTAL FAIR at the Vassar. This will be held on Sunday, September 25th at the Vassar Farm and ecological preserve located at the intersection of Route 376 and Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie. The activity will run between 1:00pm and 4:00pm. Some of the activities include, guided ecological hikes, energy conservation activities, and reports of the many subcommittees of the Environmental Council as well as activities of the Dutchess County Cornell Cooperative Extension If you have never been to the restored Vassar Barns on the Vassar farm you are missing an environmental treat. – maybe change to: Now’s your chance to get a tour of the newly renovated dairy barn, home of the Environmental Cooperative and the SCA, as well as spend the afternoon exploring the Vassar Ecological Preserve. To get a printable copy of a poster click on the title of the event in RED printed above. To see the website of the Environmental Cooperative at the Vassar Barns click HERE.
The EMC is pleased to report that the “Sustainability, Climate Change and Flood Resiliency Resource Report” has been updated and included on our REPORT page. This document lists a wide range of web resources for anyone exploring the local consequence of climate change. It is loaded with many resources that are an assistance for planning a program of mitigation of particular problems related to climate change. Specifically, it presents a “Tool Kit” of skill building websites that can be a valuable addressing the range of problems that are likely to accompany increased runoff from streams, impact on wetlands and on flooding. Lastly it offers some suggestions to solving the problems of funding.
To make the links work you may have to cut and paste them in your browser OR press the right mouse button and drag it over the link to darken it, then press the right mouse button and click on “Open Link” to make the link work. To get a copy, click on Resiliency Report here.
The membership of the EMC has been updated by the Dutchess County Legislature. By a resolution of the Dutchess County Legislature three current members of the County Environmental Management Council have ben reapointed. John DeGilio, Peter Berasi and Lalita Malik have expressed their desire to continue membership and have their term extended to June 30th, 2018. In addition the County Legislature has appointed two new members. Gail Beverly from Wappingers Falls and Charles P. May from Lagrangeville have been appointed to a first terms which will expire in June of 2017.
With the continuing members including Chairman Steven McAvery, Victoria Kelly, Marsha Leed, and Constance Kustas round out the current membership. The member of the Dutchess County Legislature that serves as their representative is Joel Tyner.
An important event in Dutchess County will take place on June 25th of this year. That is the date when special materials may be recycled without endangering anything in the environment. There are many materials that should not be deposited in the trash for fear of the impact they will have on the groundwater when placed in a landfill. Chances are, there are some of these materials in your basement awaiting an opportunity for disposal. This is your opportunity to get rid of them safely. Follow the link here to the Dutchess County Division of Solid Waste Management to find out more about how you can participate. http://www.co.dutchess.ny.us/CountyGov/Departments/SolidWasteMgmt/SWindex.htm
Three members of the Dutchess County Environmental Management Council staffed a display at the EARTH DAY FAIR in the city of Poughkeepsie on Saturday, April 15, 2016, alongside our partners from Dutchess County Cornell Cooperative Extension. The event was held in the “vest pocket park” on Main Street just east of Market Street. The Environmental Management Council plans to organize a larger “Environmental Fair” soon. To see a picture of the exhibit CLICK HERE.
End of Year 2015
The Dutchess County Environmental Management Council (EMC) is looking for a “few” good citizens with an interest in protecting the resources and environmental quality of our county. At present, we have room for three volunteers. If you are interested in serving on the EMC, send a letter of interest and resume to Carolyn Morris, Clerk of the Dutchess County Legislature at firstname.lastname@example.org. The EMC typically meets on the last Wednesday of each month from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM at the Dutchess County Farm & Home Center in Millbrook. The demands made on time and treasure of the membership are small and the rewards are the satisfaction of seeing things getting done. The commission works best when it has the input of well-informed citizens.
Since the end of winter the members of the Dutchess County Environmental Management Council have become increasingly concerned about the current impact of the use of one-use plastic bags are having of both the local and global environment. Even a cursory examination of what other communities are doing in response to this problem shows that the Dutchess EMC needs to be proactive in dealing directly with this issue. Here is the rational that tells why we should switch from using single-use plastic bags to reusable bags
Why we should switch from single-use plastic bags to reusable bags.
In 2013, 3.8 million tons of plastic bags, sacks & wraps were sent to the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream in the U.S. That’s 12 lbs. or approximately 170 bags per person per year. Only 0.5 million tons (1.6 lbs or about 20 bags per person per year) were recovered or recycled. The rest ended up in landfills &/or waste to energy (aka burn) plants. That amounts to a US total of 53 billion bags sent to MSW stream in 2013; only 7 billion of these were recycled. It’s unknown how many bags ended up as litter. (EPA 2015)
The single-use plastic shopping was introduced into the U.S. in 1976. The billions of tons of bags discarded since then have accumulated in landfills, clogged storm drains and waterways and littered highways, beaches, lakes, and the world’s oceans. Recently single-stream recycling facilities have been disabled by plastic bags binding machinery meant to handle only hard plastics, paper, metal and glass thus prohibitively increasing the cost of recycling altogether. (As You Sow & NRDC 2015, Washington Post 2015)
The polymers that make up plastic do not bio-degrade. They photo-degrade into particles the size of plankton, which are ingested by marine and aquatic organisms, including fish and marine mammals. Before degradation can occur, many marine mammals, sea turtles and birds are imperiled by ingesting or becoming entangled by plastic bags. Enormous quantities of macro and micro plastics are in our oceans and great lakes. (Law et al ES&T 2014, Sigler WASP 2014, Rocha-Santos & Duarte Trends in Analytical Chemistry 2015)
What we can do:
Support municipal bans on plastic bags. (see Surfrider.org) for a list of communities in the U.S. and other countries that have enacted a ban on or fees for plastic bags)
Give the gift of a reusable bag. Promote your organization by giving away reusable bags with your logo on them. Ask your employer to give reusable bags as promotional items. If you’re tired of canvas tote bags, consider smaller bags that fit in a pocket or purse for that quick trip to the pharmacy or convenience store.
Here are some online sources for reusable bags:
http://www.chicobag.com (these have a handy stuff sack that makes them highly portable)
Here is a link to a report the EMC generated for an activity to replace the single-use plastic bag.
The membership of the EMC has been working on the need to make provisions for the worst effects of climate change in Dutchess County. A report has been prepared that would bring our county, our townships, and our CAC’s up to speed on ways to mitigate the consequences that climate change would have on our environment. It is dense with suggestions and links to sites to places and organizations that have already addressed this topic and produced interesting reports. This report is dense with helpful links that explore the topic of Resiliency and Sustainability that can be applied to developing a plan at the county and township levels. To see the 8 page report click Dutchess Resiliency Report.
Also available is a short report of the results of this spring’s 2015 Roundtable discussion outlines the successes, challenges and goals for each CAC in Dutchess County.
Solid Waste Management Newsletter
The Division of Solid Waste Management is an arm of the Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development that deals with all manner of discarded materials. It falls to them to integrate the complex jig saw pieces’ of both private and public enterprises for accepting, hauling and processing of the county’s solid wastes. It is up to them to find ways to recycle as much of what is collected from all sources. As we approach the holiday season, it is a good time to reflect on the additions that are added to the waste stream. Lindsay Carille, Deputy Commissioner of Solid Waste Management has put together a most admirable newsletter well worth considering as you wrap and unwrap presents. Click on the link here to her Dutchess Count Planning Federation “Plan On It” eNewsletter.
Dutchess County Introduces Recycling Container Loan Program
The Dutchess County Division of Solid Waste Management has introduced a recycling container loan program to make it easy for community groups, municipalities, non-profit organizations, businesses, and other agencies to easily collect and recycle cans and bottles at public events in Dutchess County. The new ClearStream containers are simple to transport and setup and are a great no-cost way to increase recycling and environmental awareness in the community. Although the containers are FREE there there is a $50.00 refundable deposit fee to protect against loss or damage to the container. To get the finer details visit the Solid Waste website or call Charonique Roberts at 845-486-3604 to reserve containers, or email: Solidwastemgmt@dutchessny.gov. Containers are available for pickup at 27 High Street, Poughkeepsie, NY. Container delivery is not available
Reusable Bags by EMC Member Vicky Kelly
Recently the members of the EMC have been discussing ways of going beyond the recycling, reusing and replacing efforts most used in our county. Vicky Kelly reflects upon what we might consider pressing the public to consider in the future. She writes..
In some communities in California and elsewhere store clerks will ask if you’d like a bag for a fee. In other words, if you don’t have your own bag, you’ll pay for one of theirs. Last year I made gifts of reusable bags. This year I’m making reusable produce bags. I found easy patterns for both of these for free on the Internet. The produce bags are made from old window sheers. My local grocer doesn’t mind and they even receive the occasional compliment. If you’re not a seamstress, check out http://www.reuseit.com or http://www.ecobags.com. For a really handy bag that comes with its own stuff sack that will fit into your purse or briefcase, check out the original chicobag at http://www.chicobag.com. Many of us bring our own bags to the grocery store. The next step is to carry a bag with you all the time for those smaller purchases and reusable produce bags. Reduce, reuse, recycle, it’s easy.
Low Impact Development
Members of the EMC Low Impact Development sub-committee assisted Cornell Cooperative Extension plan and present the “Green Infrastructure Basics: Managing Stormwater Onsite” forum held on March 26, 2014. The forum presented an overview of the Dutchess County Greenway Guides, with emphasis on one of the newest guides, “Green Infrastructure”. The forum provided a basic overview of green
infrastructure practices and current stormwater regulations. The forum also included a presentation on incorporating green infrastructure into site plan review and the challenges municipalities may face in implementing and maintaining green infrastructure practices. The forum was attended by 59 people primarily made up of planning board members, zoning board members, and CAC members.
In the winter quarter, subcommittees of the EMC explored a wide spectrum of environmental issues. The activities of each group clustered around some emerging themes that resonate with community needs at large. The topics include expanding recycling efforts, optimizing renewable energy in government and community buildings, computer augmented programs and equipment to reduce the negative impact of salt spreading on roads in the county, and defining the role the EMC can play in making our communities more resilient to the impact of global warming effects.
Access to the general public through the Poughkeepsie Journal environmental sections called “My Valley” has provided a good way to make some of the themes more meaningful. As a first fruit of this collaboration, find an article by EMC member Marsha Leed, in which she explores ways to improve energy efficiency in large commercial buildings. Below find links to her recent articles.
Also published in the Poughkeepsie Journal in February is an article “Giving Metal New Life” by Vicky Kelly expanding the view of metal recycling. On another topic, Vicky wrote, in February a Poughkeepsie Journal article detailing the weather changes of the year just ended. You can read “What 2013’s Weather Means in the Long Run” by clicking the title here.
A “Solar Party” was held at the home of long-time EMC member and past chairman, Lalita Malik. Lalita had solar panels installed on her home and had a comprehensive energy audit done to evaluate the state of her energy use and identify areas where she could save electricity as well as reduce heating/cooling loss through leaks in her home. Representatives from NYSERDA, solar energy and energy audit companies were on hand to answer questions and provide a tour of the home. Lalita has published a series of articles in the Poughkeepsie Journal describing the process and the outstanding savings she has been able to achieve by both programs. The link at the start of this entry is to an article in the Poughkeepsie Journal written by Lalita Malik. The following are articles from the Poughkeepsie Journal. Titles have been shortened to fit here.
- August 24th 2013
- September 7th 2013
- October 9th 2013
- October 20th 2013 the
In this same time period Lalita also published an article about building a better rain garden and published in the same season.
Town of Clinton Conservation Advisory Board Activities
The activities of a Conservation Advisory Committee organized at the township level can have an important impact on the state of the environmental health of the township which it represents. A excellent example of what this might look like is detailed in a short report focusing on the CAC of the Town of Clinton. Although many communities have CAC’s to satisfy the county law, not all are committed to be as proactive about the duties entrusted to them. Read this short article that appears in the May 5th, 2013 copy of the Poughkeepsie Journal to find out why we are so proud of work of Chairman Jen Cavanaugh, Clinton Town Board Liaison Frank Venezia, and members Norene Coller, Sarah Love, Barbara Mansell and Bill Relyea.
Dutchess County has released the Local Solid Waste Management Plan, Rethinking Waste (.pdf), for public review. The report is an exposition of a new ten-year plan for the management of solid waste. It outlines how much solid waste we are currently generating, how much we currently recycle and reuse and sets a plan for how we can decrease generation of solid waste and increase what we take out of the waste stream. The county is seeking feedback and comments about what is included in this new plan. This is your chance to impact the way our community will treat the wastes we generate for years to come. By clicking on the red link above you will have access to the full document.
To make a comment, recommendation or reaction o the report you can download a comment form and return it before the public meeting to be held to be held February 26, 2013 at the Farm and Home Center, 2715 Route 44, Millbrook, NY at 7:00 pm (inclement weather date is February 28, 2013). You can click on the red comment form above to obtain a copy.
Over the course of the summer of 2012 members of the EMC have submitted a series of articles printed in the “Our Valley” section of the Poughkeepsie Journal. The subjects of these articles clarified for the community the findings of the report to the Legislature called “State of the Environment Report for Dutchess County”. Each article covered some aspect of that report and appeared in successive Sunday Issues of the Environmental section of the newspaper. Each of the articles is posted on a page reserved for our publications as a part of the Projects & Reports efforts of the EMC. Click “HERE” to select from the 13 articles published.
The members of the EMC have committed themselves to the discovery of the state of the recycling effort in Dutchess County. They are in the process of educating themselves about all the current conditions, materials and fates of materials each township, city or municipality collect to be recycled. In the process they expect to identify what works best, what it would take to recycle more and identify ways that the process could yield a better result using the funds available. To that end, the Dutchess County Environmental Management Council has set up a plan to visit sites to get first hand experience in understanding the related problems more completely. Members of the CAC’s that would like to join in this project should feel free to join the EMC as it visits recycling plants. Follow this link to see the EMC’s visit to RECYCLE DEPOT.
Learning Modules related to the NRI.
The EMC has taken on a project to create learning experiences that make the concepts and understandings in the Dutchess County Natural Resource Inventory more easily understood. Each activity is presented as short “hands on” experience that draws upon data, graphics or pictures in the NRI and gives them a very local context. To view the activities already available, click “HERE.”
The Dutchess County EMC co-sponsored the “Get Moving Hudson Valley” 350.org Event on September 24th, 2011, with the CCE Associations in Dutchess and Ulster Counties and other local partner organizations at the Walkway over the Hudson Park. CCE and local organizations were at the Poughkeepsie and Highland sides of the Walkway over the Hudson Park from 9:00am-3:00pm, providing information and ways for citizens to get involved. An 11:00am press conference and photo opportunity in the middle of the Walkway Bridge highlighted Hudson Valley opportunities. The main message that day was “Walk or Ride, Just Dont Drive!” to raise awareness of the need for energy conservation, a green economy and climate change awareness.
EMC members are collecting data from all municipalities on their current waste management and recycling operations, which will help CACs and municipal officials assess improvements that could be made, and how to make residents better aware of options in their community. Contact the EMC for more info.
The Dutchess County EMC received the 2010 outstanding project award from the NY State Association of EMCs for the project to update the Natural Resource Inventory of Dutchess County, NY. Congratulations!
Reducing the Effect of Road Salt on Local Water Resources: EMC members helped the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies develop an informative new report “Road Salt: Moving toward the Solution” which highlights the human and environmental health impacts of road salt use and methods that minimize salt inputs. The report is available at: http://www.caryinstitute.org/report_road_salt_2010.pdf.
A new, interactive, community website (http://www.dutchesswatersheds.org) has just been launched that will help members of the EMC, local watershed groups, municipal officials, youth and teachers, and researchers learn about and protect the water resources in Dutchess County, NY.
The new website will allow visitors will find information on community events, watershed facts and research data, and multimedia materials for education. By creating the new website, CCEDC and Vassar were hoping to educate the community and increase awareness of the importance of watershed protection. Everyone lives in a watershed and everything we do on our property and in our communities can have a negative impact on the quantity and quality of the water that we all rely upon. Since the majority of homeowners in Dutchess County rely on well water for their drinking water, it is critical that we all work to protect our water resources. For more information, please visit the website at http://www.dutchesswatersheds.org, or contact the CCEDC Environment and Energy Program at 845.677.8223, or the Vassar College Environmental Research Institute at 845.437.7000.
The Dutchess County Legislature voted in December to appoint two new at-large members to the EMC: Vicky Kelly (the Cary Institute) and Maribel Pregnall (an Arlington High School teacher) ~ both Vicky and Maribell will make a wonderful addition to the EMC!
Funding for the Dutchess County EMC’s main organizational partner, Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County’s Environment and Energy Program, is being reduced by 17% in the 2010 County Budget. CCEDC staff will be working with the CCEDC Board and Program Advisory Committee, and EMC to strategize funding priorities given reduced funding. The EMC strongly supported CCEDC’s funding restoration efforts: review EMC’s letter of support to the Legislature.
EMC Launches its new website, at dutchessemc.org! The EMC will be regularly updating its website to share information among communities in Dutchess County about issues that are affecting the county’s natural resources.
The NY State Conference on the Environment, and state EMC association meeting, was held November 13-15, 2009 in Watkins Glens, NY. See the NYS EMC Association for more information, or contact Jenna Hicks from Schuyler County Cooperative Extension at: email@example.com.
Click hear to read past updates in the archive.