EASTHAM — It’s been called “the party the town throws itself when the tourists go home.” Eastham’s Windmill Weekend celebrations extend far past the edges of the triangular swath on which Cape Cod’s “oldest and last working gristmill” (when it’s working) sits. The 42nd edition of the festival takes place this weekend, although the windmill will appear in name only when the party kicks off on Friday, Sept. 6
Health board mulls new recycling rules
The discovery of mosquitoes in Truro carrying the virus for Eastern equine encephalitis may have elicited the greatest concern at the Aug. 29 meeting of the Eastham Board of Health, but the topic that generated the most discussion by far was recycling.
The board is in the process of revising Eastham’s health regulations. That includes proper procedures for the disposal of materials at the transfer station. A quick trip there will affirm the town’s commitment to recycling paper, plastic, glass, and tin. But — do we have to? That is, is recycling mandatory?
That’s what board member Adele Blong wanted to know after studying the revised rules, which also charged the staff at the transfer station with conducting inspections of garbage deposited in the trash compactors. The language seemed to suggest that, theoretically, residents could be fined for tossing a soda can in with their solid waste.
Dept. of public works Supt. Silvio Genao, who was on hand to assist the board with its revisions, seemed caught off guard by Blong’s questions, particularly since the regulations had not significantly changed. In fact, he said, the new draft language was virtually cut and pasted from the old — which was intentionally adapted from state regulations. Staying within Massachusetts guidelines is essential, as the town can be fined if its solid waste is found to contain a certain amount of material that could have been recycled.
All that aside, Genao confessed that staffing and budget constraints allowed for only “sparse” inspections of trash in the compactors — mainly to ferret out suspected repeat offenders.
Blong was quick to reassure those in attendance that she was no opponent of recycling — she’d scoured her share of peanut butter jars — but that the state’s language seemed aimed at commercial trash haulers, whereas the town’s regulations, in her view, could be interpreted to apply equally to individuals. And the idea of town employees digging through trash bags in search of stray cereal boxes just didn’t, well, smell right.
The board promised to revisit the language, and also to make it clearer to residents how all manner of waste products should be handled. A new draft of Eastham’s recycling brochure, redubbed a “Transfer Station Informational Flyer” by Genao, will include not only guidelines for recyclables and items that can be disposed of for a fee but also “hazardous wastes” — which can only be dropped off twice a year on specified dates — and “prohibited items,” such as explosives, that can never be brought to the transfer station.
Discussion of the revised regulations continues at the board’s next meeting at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at town hall.
Two Eastham ponds cleared for swimming
Finally, some good news for Eastham aquaphiles. Results of the second round of tests by the Mass. Dept. of Public Health allowed Minister’s and Schoolhouse ponds to be officially cleared for swimming, boating, and all manner of recreation on Tuesday, Sept. 3. So go jump in a lake.