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Anaerobic digestion is the natural process in which microorganisms break down organic matter in the absence of air (an anaerobic environment). Anaerobic digestion creates usable products such as biogas and digested material.
Anaerobic digesters are built systems (lagoons or tanks) where anaerobic digestion takes place. Anaerobic digesters manage organic wastes, produce gas and digested materials, minimize odors, reduce pathogens, and reduce solid wastes. Anaerobic digesters are also called “anaerobic digestion systems”, “biodigesters” or simply “digesters”.
Co-digestion happens when more than one type of organic material is digested at the same time. Digesters are often built for a single purpose. For example, a farmer may build an anaerobic digester to handle cow manure. If the farmer also takes food waste from a local grocery store and puts the food waste in the digester along with the cow manure, it is called co-digestion.
Biogas is the gas produced when bacteria break down organic matter in the absence of oxygen. It is made up of mainly methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2), with small amounts of water vapor, particulates, and other gasses, such as hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Biogas can be processed and used for a variety of energy needs, such as the generation of heat, power and fuel.
Inside an anaerobic digester, naturally occurring microorganisms grow in the tank’s oxygen-free environment and break down (digest) the organic matter. As the organic matter decomposes, biogas is created. Once established in a digester, microorganisms will continue to break down organic materials and release biogas in the right conditions. The microorganisms need a steady supply of feedstock and a comfortable environment - warm temperatures, neutral acidity and no oxygen.
Digested material is the solid and liquid material that remains at the end of the anaerobic digestion process. Digested material contains valuable nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) and organic carbon. Typically, raw digested material is processed into a wide variety of products like fertilizer, compost, soil amendments or animal bedding. Factors influencing what products are made include the makeup of the initial feedstocks and local markets. These co-products can be sold to agricultural, commercial and residential customers.
Many types of organic material can be used as feedstock to produce biogas. Animal manures, wastewater solids, food scraps, restaurant fats, oils, and greases, and by-products from food and beverage production are some commonly digested materials. An anaerobic digester may be built for a single material or a combination of them. However, the feedstocks must be properly controlled to ensure that the system remains healthy and functioning.
Yes, biogas is a renewable energy source. It is produced from natural resources that are replenished in short periods of time.
Yes, biogas can replace fossil fuels for the production of heat, power and fuel. With additional processing, biogas becomes renewable natural gas that can be used in the same place as fossil fuels.
Biogas is made up of methane and carbon dioxide, which are powerful greenhouse gases. Anaerobic digesters are designed to capture these gases so they do not escape to the atmosphere. In most cases, the feedstocks used in digesters would have released methane directly as they decomposed in lagoons or landfills. In addition, using biogas for heat or electricity means that less energy needs to be produced by power plants. This reduces the amount of carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.
Anaerobic digesters are usually built on sites that have a steady supply of organic materials and need energy or heat. Common examples include farms, water resource recovery facilities, food production facilities, and landfills. Also, stand-alone digesters can be built in a central location to accept organics from multiple businesses.
Landfill gas is a type of biogas. Both can be converted to renewable energy (electricity or fuel).
Biogas and natural gas have essentially the same components. But, the two gasses are obtained in different ways. Biogas is produced when readily available organic materials (e.g., manure or food waste) break down. Natural gas is produced when ancient plants, tiny sea animals, and other organic materials break down in hard to access locations. Usually, natural gas has to be extracted from underground reservoirs. Natural gas can also be derived from petroleum refining.
Biogas contains a small amount of hydrogen sulfide, which has a rotten-egg odor. However, anaerobic digesters are completely enclosed and biogas is not released directly to the air. Digesters are commonly installed at farms to reduce odors. What comes out of a digester after processing is much less odorous than the feedstocks that go into digesters.
A properly designed and operated system is very safe. Anaerobic digesters are designed to meet local and national codes for safety. However, they do produce methane and hydrogen sulfide. These gases both burn easily and are harmful to inhale, so it is essential to use proper gas-handling precautions. It is also important for plant operators to be well trained and follow established operational procedures
The Select Board vote each year whether or not to adopt the exemption. The amount of the exemption must also be voted by the Select Board, and may be no more than 20% of the average residential value.
Once the Select Board has adopted the exemption and voted the percentage, the assessor determines the amount of value to be exempted from those qualifying parcels by calculating the following:
Sign-up for updates and more opportunities to get involved as we advance the Nantucket Coastal Resilience Plan.
Attend a Coastal Resilience Advisory Committee meeting, participate in one of the upcoming community engagement activities, or send us an email:
Vincent Murphy Natural Resources DepartmentCoastal Resilience CoordinatorEmail
Coastal flooding and erosion are as old as the island itself. These forces have shaped the island into the familiar form we see today. This constant and progressive shaping of land by water is now causing problems that are being quickened by sea level rise. This is threatening our island’s infrastructure as well as built and natural environments, from roads and docks to private property and the shape of our beaches. We cannot maintain the island in perpetuity, but we can take steps to reduce to the impact of these risks and to improve the resilience of our community over time.
[VM1]I realize some of these are repeated from above.
[JT2]Vince, is this the correct link?
The CRP will result in a final report including an implementation roadmap. The planning process will result in the following:
Westgate Home Medical Equipment209 West Main StreetHyannis, MA 02601
With the amount of snowfall on Nantucket, as long as panels are on a roof or high enough off the ground for ground-mounted systems, snow should not need to be removed. The solar panels do a good job of naturally melting any snow that doesn’t slide off of them.
Cleaning solar panels is not regularly needed. A good rain should clean them off with no problem. If they do get dirty enough to affect their efficiency, they can be cleaned with a non-abrasive wash just like you would clean your windows.
As long as your solar PV system is under warranty, replacement parts should be of no cost to you. With modern solar technologies systems rarely have issues with components, so any maintenance should be uncommon.
If installed properly, roof mounted systems will not cause roof damage that could potentially cause leaks.
Technology is constantly evolving, and solar panels will inevitably become more efficient in the future. Current solar technology is efficient enough for people to greatly reduce their electric bills to a few dollars a month to even no cost per month.
The solar panels themselves have a manufacturer warranty generally around 20-25 years, while Installers have a labor warranty around 5 years. Both of these warranties are dependent on manufacturer and installer and need to be taken into consideration when investing in a solar PV system.
Currently there is a federal tax rebate of 30% off of your system cost.
There is a state rebate of 15% up to $1000.
There is a Nantucket Town SOLAR Rebate of $2500.
Quarterly net-metering payments called SRECS.
Average payback period of a system on Nantucket is around 6.5 years. This means that on average the solar PV system will pay for itself in, on average, around 6.5 years.
Like many other things on Nantucket, it is more expensive to install solar PV on Nantucket due to cost of transportation of materials and additional labor costs. The $2500 SOLAR Rebate was created to help alleviate these extra cost. But even though the system is more expensive, it is still an economically viable option to saving money.
Although Nantucket may not get as much sun as mainland areas, these systems do generate enough electricity for owners to greatly reduce their electric bills without having to install more expensive systems.
The optimal roof orientation for installing solar PV is 180 degrees due south. Roof pitch can be accounted for with the system mounting brackets. Although asphalt shingles are prefered when installing roof mounted systems, roofs with cedar shingles can still be used.
Many installers use smart apps that communicate to your solar PV system through wifi or ethernet that allow you to manage and track your system output in real time.
Rarely can solar panels be installed inside the Historic Cores on Nantucket. Like any home improvement inside the Historic Cores, projects need to contribute to keeping these zones historically accurate. Systems can’t be visible from any view, and can’t impact the historical integrity of the building.
Yes, as long as the solar panels are visibly hidden from public view or are considered to not make a negative visual impact, they can be installed on your property.
Yes, you do need HDC approval before installing solar PV outside of a Historic Core, but they are more lenient when it comes to the aesthetics of the system, as long as it is not in view of a public way.
It's recommended that you talk to your local Homeowners Association before talking to the HDC when looking to install solar PV. You won’t have to fill out and pay for an application before finding out whether or not you are allowed to install solar PV where you live.
When looking to install a system on island it is important to talk to multiple installers to get a system and company that works well for your situation. Make sure to consider the overall cost of the system, the expected payback period, system and labor warranties, and how well they communicate.
Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, are a group of manmade chemicals that have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries since the 1950s. They are referred to as ‘forever chemicals’ – they are persistent in our bodies, mobile in the environment and many will not naturally degrade. PFAS chemicals are most often commercially used to create grease, water and stain resistant barriers for materials, including Teflon, grease-resistant take out containers, and upholstery and carpet treatments; these chemicals are also found in firefighting foam.
PFAS compounds can be found in:
Certain PFAS chemicals are no longer manufactured in the United States as a result of phase outs including the PFOA Stewardship Program in which eight major chemical manufacturers agreed to eliminate the use of PFOA and PFOA-related chemicals in their products and as emissions from their facilities. Although PFOA and PFOS are no longer manufactured in the United States, they are still produced internationally and can be imported into the United States in consumer goods such as carpet, leather and apparel, textiles, paper and packaging, coatings, rubber and plastics.
PFAS is a chemical found in a wide range of consumer products, and most people have been exposed to PFAS. A preliminary list of scientific articles that have looked at PFAS presence in consumer products is included in FAQ #32.
Concerns have been raised regarding human health and ecological risks associated with certain PFAS chemicals. The Town of Nantucket is following the guidance and testing requirements of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) as it pertains to PFAS.
The best action you can take to decrease PFAS pollution on the Island is to purchase less PFAS-containing products. This can be challenging because products like food packaging materials, non-stick cookware, stain resistant carpet treatments, water resistant clothing, cleaning products, paints, varnishes and sealants, waxes, and cosmetics may have PFAS in them. Other products such as fertilizers and compost may contain PFAS compounds. Purchasing PFAS-free alternatives to these products will help decrease the amount of additional PFAS entering the Island.
Nantucket Memorial Airport has responded to concerns about the presence of Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) in drinking water down-gradient from the Airport property associated with the release of firefighting foam during tests mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Working with a licensed environmental consultant, the Airport learned that some, but not all drinking water wells in the affected area show PFAS levels in excess of reportable concentrations set by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. More information is available at Airport’s PFAS Information Portal.
PFAS are slow to break down in the environment, and therefore are often found in food and the environment (soil, water). It is unlikely that you can avoid all PFAS exposure. However, you can take the following actions to limit your exposure to PFAS:
Significant research is underway to better answer this question. At this point, home grown produce likely contributes to less PFAS exposure than drinking water or food products like eggs and seafood. While PFAS may be present in co-compost, it is likely diluted when mixed with surrounding soils, so less PFAS ends up in the plants. Note that co-compost has not been available to the public since August 2019.
Want to learn more about how PFAS travels from soil or co-compost into plants?
Many factors affect how PFAS ends up in plants, including:
We generally know that shorter chain compounds that are more soluble (dissolved) in water are more likely to be found in the fruit of a plant. On the other hand, long chain compounds (like PFOS and PFOA) tend to stick to soils or translocate (move) into and store in the plant’s roots or leaves.
The current, limited studies on health risk from eating produce, indicate that daily intake of PFOS and PFOA from produce is far below the health risk levels established in the U.S. and abroad. A USEPA study1,2 estimated that a person would need to eat nearly 2 to 3 pounds of lettuce a day to be above the recommended safe intake rate for PFOA and PFOS in lettuce, assuming lettuce was their only PFAS exposure.
The health risk of watering plants with PFAS-contaminated water is uncertain. It depends on many factors, including: 2
For more information check out:
You can take the following actions to limit your exposure:
Want to learn more about PFAS in irrigation water?
A recent study modelled how much PFAS was found in vegetables following watering with PFAS-impacted water. The study found that using water with the USEPA lifetime health advisory for PFOS and PFOA of 70 nanograms per Liter (ng/L) [or parts per trillion, ppt] would result in daily exposure below what state and federal agencies deemed high risk, for all age groups.3 In other words, water that the USEPA says is safe to drink is also safe to water ones plants with.
We know biosolid-based fertilizers often contain some level of detectable PFAS.4 Recent studies found that fertilizer products generally had higher PFAS concentrations than soil amendments containing biosolids, such as co-compost. However, fertilizers are typically added in smaller amounts than soil amendment products, suggesting that PFAS levels in bulk soil is lower when using fertilizers than when using soil amendment products. FAQ #9 includes actions you can take to reduce exposure to PFAS from fertilizers and soil amendments, including co-compost.
The Nantucket landfill and WON’s operations take materials delivered from the public and commercial vendors to use as ingredients to produce several products for re-use:
Yes. While some exposure to PFAS may occur from accidentally swallowing or breathing in steam while bathing or showering, it is not significant.
Yes. PFAS are not easily absorbed through the skin, so bathing is not a significant source of exposure. Take care to limit accidental swallowing or breathing of PFAS-impacted water during bathing.
You have two options:
When installing a private treatment system, talk to a professional to make sure it will correctly treat PFAS, and work with them throughout the process, including how to maintain the system and dispose of the PFAS-laden treatment media.
Not necessarily. The MassDEP PFAS6 MCL and USEPA lifetime health advisories are set to overestimate potential exposures. Their goal is to make sure that sensitive populations, like infants and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, are protected. The advisories also take into account differences between animals and humans, and differences between humans. As stated by MassDEP, “a risk would be expected only if an individual continuously drinks only contaminated water at a level significantly higher than the MCL.” The best way to reduce the potential health risks is to limit your exposure as much as possible (more info in FAQs #20, #23, and #28).
Yes. If you would like to have your or your family member’s blood tested, talk to your health care provider. You can also seek guidance on how to interpret blood test results from your regional Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU). However, PEHSU does not offer PFAS testing.
Remember that PFAS are found in the blood of humans and animals worldwide. Most people in the United States have one or more specific PFAS in their blood, especially PFOS and PFOA. If you are concerned and choose to have your blood tested, test results will tell you how much of each PFAS is in your blood but it is unclear what the results mean in terms of possible health effects. The blood test will not be diagnostic (attributable to an existing health condition) or prognostic (predictive of a future health condition), nor will it provide information for treatment. The blood test results will not predict or rule-out the development of future health problems related to a PFAS exposure. At this point, the benefit of a PFAS blood test is to identify the PFAS in a person’s blood, relative to the broader population.
On October 2, 2020, MassDEP published final regulations establishing a drinking water standard, or a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), for the sum of six per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The MCL is 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for what the regulations call PFAS6, or the sum of six PFAS compounds: perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), and perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA).
Additional MassDEP regulations for testing of PFAS in the environment are likely in the future as scientific studies are conducted and the understanding of these chemicals increases. The Town of Nantucket has been and will perform all testing as required by MassDEP. The Town may also perform testing as recommended by our professional and licensed consultants to address specific situations.
The Town of Nantucket, Nantucket Memorial Airport and Wannacomet Water Company along with MassDEP are working together to coordinate PFAS related activities.
Yes. MassDEP began a Private Well PFAS Sampling Program in November 2020. In February 2021, the Town of Nantucket is being considered to be added to this program. The program selects a representative number of private wells, provides sampling kits to well owners, and pays for the laboratory analysis costs of the PFAS samples. The private well owner is responsible for collecting the sample.
MassDEP will select which wells will be sampled based on priority factors including geographic distribution throughout the town, proximity to potential sources of PFAS, and available funding. Applying for the program does not guarantee your well be included in the program. To apply for consideration, well owners can submit a Private Wells PFAS Sampling Program “Notice of Interest Application Form” on MassDEP’s website.
Wannacomet Water Company public water supply well sampling results have been below the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) set as safe for PFAS in drinking water, with most wells showing no PFAS. Wannacomet public water supply wells draw water from below confining units. A confining unit may help prevent PFAS from moving vertically, deeper underground where the Wannacomet public water supply well screens are located. For comparison, most private residential (domestic) wells are screened in the upper Unconfined Aquifer, thus withdrawing groundwater from above the confining unit.
Groundwater sample results have been reported by Nantucket Memorial Airport for on-airport shallow monitoring wells and adjacent residential drinking water wells, the Town’s Wannacomet Water Company public water supply wells, and by a limited number of private residents. This data is not a complete picture of PFAS in the Island’s aquifer. The Airport is continuing to advance its investigation through ongoing sampling and source identification activities. The Town is developing a groundwater sampling program, and the Siasconset Water Department will test their wells by October 1, 2021. The Town sampling program is scheduled to begin in Spring 2021 and will focus on the landfill site. Once we have that information, we will better understand if PFAS impacts the groundwater aquifer.
An aquifer is underground layer of water bearing rock and/or granular materials from which water can be extracted using a well.
A confining unit is relatively dense and contains impermeable materials, such as clay, that may prevent transport of groundwater and pollutants deeper into the subsurface.
Whether you can hook up to public water depends on location and discussions with the Town. If there are existing Town water lines on your street, the process to install a new water service to a property from that existing line may be easier and cheaper. If a property is located in a part of Town without public water lines, it is more difficult. Your location, how close you are to existing water lines, funding, and conditions below the surface may all factor into if you can hook up to public water. For more information please contact Town Administration, contact information is provided at the end of this Fact Sheet, or the Wannacomet Water Company directly.
No. There is no specific regulation of PFAS in a Zone II aquifer wellhead protection area (refer to glossary) relative to septic systems. However, the MassDEP Title 5 program and land use controls offers general protection to Zone II aquifer areas. Local Boards of Health and MassDEP are the regulatory authorities for septic systems. The Town of Nantucket’s Septic System Resources website (see call-out box) has helpful resources for you to ensure you are doing your part to protect the Island’s resources, including the Zone II aquifer wellhead protection area.
If homeowners are interested PFAS sampling and testing at their own election, there are laboratories you may contact and request pricing. Here are a few companies that are known to have done PFAS testing on Nantucket. This is not a complete list of all available firms and this list is not to be considered an endorsement for any particular company. Listed alphabetically:
If there are other firms that may be added to the list, please send the information to PFAS@nantucket-ma.gov
No. PFAS sampling results from leachate (liquid coming out of landfills into the ground) or co-compost (leaf/yard waste mixed with municipal solid waste and dewatered sludge (residuals) from the WWTF that are processed through a composter to create biosolids) should not be compared to regulatory or other health-based PFAS standards for soil or groundwater. The risk for each type of media is different, so the standards for one type cannot apply directly to another type. MassDEP is developing screening levels for land application of soil amendments, including biosolids, which would apply to co-compost. FAQs #9 and #10 have more information on the health risk to plants growing in soil with co-compost. Note that co-compost has not been available to the public since August 2019.
As of March 2021, we do not know yet. The Town has not sampled private drinking water wells below the landfill site. The Town with CDM Smith is developing a groundwater sampling program to better understand how PFAS from the landfill impacts groundwater. The Town will let the community know when the program begins.
There will be. The Town with CDM Smith is developing a program to better understand the PFAS in the WWTF and landfill site, as recommended in the Town-wide Preliminary Assessment and Planning Approach Report. The program may include collecting PFAS samples at the WWTF and landfill. The Town will let the community know when the program begins. There are currently no MassDEP or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) guidelines for WWTF or landfill sites at this time. However, both agencies are moving forward to include PFAS in Wastewater National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits. For more information check out MassDEP’s website at: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/per-and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas#pfas-in-wastewater-facilities-with-npdes-permitted-discharges-
PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals used since the 1940s. PFAS were used to manufacture commercial products and firefighting foam. Some PFAS are no longer used. The potential source of PFAS present at the Town landfill, such as in waste water treatment residuals and municipal solid waste, are primarily from use of household cleaning products, food packaging, clothing, and beauty products that contained PFAS.
In 2019, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) recognized the need for more information on PFAS characteristics in wastewater treatment residuals. Prior to 2020 on Nantucket, such residuals were mixed with municipal solid waste and leaf/yard waste to be used for compost. Waste Options, the Town Contractor, collected compost samples in 2019 to maintain a proactive approach to environmental quality on the island. Specific PFAS sampling protocols were not established at that time.
The data received could not be readily assessed, as MassDEP has not yet issued criteria to evaluate risk associated with PFAS in wastewater treatment residuals or compost. Further, it is recognized that sampling was not conducted in accordance with current protocols. The Town and its Contractor Waste Options are now performing quarterly monitoring of PFAS in accordance with the recent MassDEP Approval of Suitability (AOS) permit requirement updates. Note that starting in 2019, wastewater residuals and municipal solid waste stopped being used to prepare compost for Town-wide use.
(i.e. compost being pulled from the dump and new more precise tests being taken)?
The Town is currently evaluating island-specific risk to PFAS, including compost use, and subsequent risk mitigation actions, as warranted. It is essential that subsequent actions be based on sound science and collection of samples using MassDEP sampling protocols. The Town and Contractor, Waste Options, agree that the 2020 MassDEP Approval of Suitability (AOS) permit compost sampling PFAS results will be used to discuss risk mitigation actions with the Board of Health and other public stakeholders.
As part of the Town’s public outreach strategy, the PFAS results from the independent sampling event and island-specific risk to PFAS will be made available to the community. A fact sheet on the island-specific risk to PFAS is scheduled to be released next month. The Town is also collaborating with North East Biosolids and Residuals Association (NEBRA) to prepare and distribute educational materials pertaining to PFAS in biosolids and compost, and potential use. The Town will continue to be compliant with MassDEP PFAS regulations as they evolve and will transparently communicate status to the public.
By ferry boat or airplane…There is no bridge.
According to thew 2020 census, the island has a year round population of around 14,255. In July and August the population swells to around 80,000 or more.
The Town Manager is appointed by the Select Board for a term of 3 years. The Town Manager has an employment contract with the Town (also approved by the Select Board) which generally runs concurrent to the 3 year term.
HABs are algal blooms with the potential to harm human health or aquatic ecosystems. In freshwater systems, cyanobacteria (also called blue-green algae) are microorganisms that can produce HABs. Some cyanobacterial HABs, or cyanoHABs, can produce toxins (cyanotoxins) that are harmful to human and aquatic health.
Environmental factors such as the presence of nutrients, warm temperatures, and increased periods of sunlight can encourage the natural increase of cyanobacteria which is why blooms occur more frequently during the summer time. Agricultural (fertilizer) runoff and wastewater effluent are sources of nutrients that have been linked to higher rates of these bacteria.
HABs have been associated with human health impacts including skin rashes, gastrointestinal and respiratory disease, and liver damage. Animals, including dogs, can also be impacted by HABs, having more pronounced effects that can potentially be fatal.
A harmful algal bloom can produce dense mats and may look like green paint or scum on the surface of the water; they can also cause foul odors.
HABS might not always be visible but are typically common during warmer months of the year and after rain events.
If you notice a HAB occurring or are not sure, please use caution and do not recreate in the pond. Keep your pets on leashes to control your animal’s contact with potential HABs.
The application is available online. Hard copy resumes are available at the Town and County Building, in the Human Resources Office:
16 Broad St.
Nantucket, MA 02554
Geographic information system (GIS) is a system of computer hardware, software, and people that can assemble, store, manipulate, analyze, and display geographic data. Geographic data is any information that has a specific location. For example: roads, buildings, political boundaries, property lines, natural resources, etc.
With GIS it is possible to combine many layers of data from different sources and analyze the relationships between the data layers. The results of the analysis can then be displayed as a map or report to assist in decision making. For more information view the National Geographic Resource Library Encyclopedia.
Yes, anyone can order a map. Most of our data is available to the public on our interactive WebGIS site, and printable versions are available through the department. The GIS department can also create larger format maps.
To order a map, you can call the Assessor's Office at 508-228-7211 or the GIS office at (508) 228-7200 x 7003
2 Fairgrounds Rd.
Map price is determined by the size, please call us at 508-228-7211 for more information.
The property information updated nightly from the Assessor’s database.
Two people is the maximum number and they must practice social distancing while working.
Emergency Order No. 6 requires the designation of one or more individuals of the company doing the landscape work to be COVID-19 Officer(s). They are responsible for ensuring that all of the company’s employees are following the required safety protocols in Emergency Order No. 6. Please see LINK for the necessary form that must be completed and returned to the Town’s Natural Resources Department for the designation of the Officer(s).
Starting on April 21, 2020, the following "Primary Activities" are allowed:
Initial site openings and maintenance:
Irrigation System Commissioning:
Trees and shrubs:
Starting on April 28, 2020 the following “Secondary Activities” are allowed:
No this Order only covers existing landscaping at this time.
No, this Order only covers existing landscaping at this time. However, you may plant them at your own residence.
No. The Order requires that individuals must take separate transportation to the job site, regardless of family or living status.
Nantucket’s Order is stricter than the State’s Order. Currently Nantucket is restricting landscapers to the list of activities above.
Yes, office work to maintain the essential functions of a business is allowed as long as social distancing guidelines and safety measures are followed.
Options include biking, walking, taxi, NRTA.
We are recommending that the two companies coordinate their work so as to maximize social distancing and minimize interaction. If work can occur without any overlap, it may be allowed.
Under the State Stay-at-Home Order, childcare facilities are only open for certain types of workers, landscaping workers are not in any of those categories.
If the site where you are working does not have restroom facilities, you may leave the site to use an appropriate restroom, elsewhere – while making sure to follow all sanitary, safety and social distancing protocols.
The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (www.mass.gov/info-details/employee-unemployment-faq-covid-19#eligibility-) has advised that employees receiving unemployment who seek to self-quarantine due to a “reasonable fear of exposure” or to care for “a child who is at home” need not accept suitable work that becomes available until the reasonable fear or childcare need have resolved. There is no further definition of “reasonable” in terms of fear of exposure, but legal opinion states that it needs to be something more than a generalized, subjective fear of contracting the illness, and must be based on concrete factors present in the workplace or the employee’s health condition that increase his likelihood of getting the disease.
Please also consider that the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance has advised that an employee who plans to quit his or her job out of fear of being exposed may be eligible, but must demonstrate, among other things, that such fear was reasonable under the circumstances. The DUA did not define “reasonable” in this guidance either.
What is allowed:
What is NOT allowed:
No, non-essential businesses are not allowed to open however as of May 4, 2020 the Governor announced additional guidance regarding essential and non-essential work.
Aquifer: an underground layer of water-bearing rock and/or granular materials. Groundwater can be extracted using a water well.
Mulch: a blend of branches, stumps and other wood material from trees, pallets, and other clean wood waste, and large plants
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR): A federal public health agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The agency focuses on minimizing human health risks associated with exposure to hazardous substances.
ng/L: nanograms per liter, or parts per trillion [ppt]
Biosolids: dewatered sludge (residual solids or sludge) generated during the wastewater treatment process and then processed through a composter to create biosolids
PFAS: Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. A group of manmade chemicals manufactured and used in a variety of industries since the 1950s.
Co-compost: a combination of WWTF output (residuals), leaf/yard waste, and municipal solid waste produced by Waste Options Nantucket. (Currently not being distributed to the public)
PFAS6 MCL: MassDEP’s drinking water MCL of 20 ng/L for the sum of six specific PFAS compounds: PFOS, PFOA, PFHxS, PFNA, PFHpA and, PFDA.
Compost: organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow (typically food scraps and yard waste)
PFOA: perfluorooctanoic acid. A PFAS compound.
Confining unit: an underground layer of relatively dense, impermeable materials, such as clay, that may prevent transport of groundwater and pollutants deeper into the subsurface.
PFOS: perfluorooctane sulfonate. A PFAS compound.
FAQ: frequently asked questions
Translocate: the movement of a dissolved substance within an organism, such as plant parts (roots, stems, leaves, fruit)
MCL: maximum contaminant level. A standard established by MassDEP as the allowable level of a pollutant in drinking water
USEPA: United States Environmental Protection Agency
MassDEP: Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
WWTF: Wastewater Treatment Facility
MCP: Massachusetts Contingency Plan (310 CMR 40.0000). Lays out a detailed process on when and how contaminated sites must be assessed and cleaned up
Zone II Aquifer Wellhead Protection Area: represents the area of contribution to a water supply well under the most severe pumping and recharge conditions that can be realistically anticipated (180 days of pumping with no recharge from precipitation), per the MassDEP Drinking Water Regulations (310 CMR 22.000)
Peer-reviewed Scientific Studies Referenced in FAQs
Known Research Reports that Investigated PFAS Consumer Products
Report Title: Risk assessment of fluorinated substances in cosmetic products
Published by: The Danish Environmental Protection Agency, October 2018
Summary: This project is part of the Danish Environmental Protection Agency's chemical initiative, with the aim of assessing consumers' exposure to problematic chemistry. The purpose of the project is to build knowledge of PFAS in cosmetic products and to clarify whether using cosmetic products containing PFAS poses a risk to consumers.
Accessed March 16, 2021
Report Title: Analysis of PFASs and TOF in products
Published by: The Nordic Council of Ministers (regional collaboration, involving Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland.), 2017
Summary: This study is a follow-up of a Nordic Risk Assessment Project from 2015 where 29 samples of different household products were analyzed for 22 PFASs. The result of that study showed that all 29 products contained PFASs and that 12 of the 22 PFASs that were analyzed for were detected. The study further analyzed the products in 2015 together with additional analysis of product types known to contain PFASs or suspected to contain PFASs.
Report Title: Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances in consumer products
Published by: The Environmental Science and Pollution Research (ESPR) Journal, February 2015
Summary: This study investigated the PFAS load of consumer products in a broad perspective. Perfluoroalkyl sulfonic acids, carboxylic acids and fluorotelomer alcohols were analyzed in 115 random samples of consumer products including textiles (outdoor materials), carpets, cleaning and impregnating agents, leather samples, baking and sandwich papers, paper baking forms and ski waxes. A diverse mixture of PFASs can be found in consumer products for all fields of daily use in varying concentrations. This study proves the importance of screening and monitoring of consumer products for PFAS loads and the necessity for an action to regulate the use of PFASs, especially PFOA, in consumer products.
No, this bylaw applies to COMMERCIAL use and distribution only. This bylaw will be enforced in commercial establishments, not on the streets or in people’s homes. However, we hope all will join in the spirit of the bylaw in reducing single-use plastic waste. We need everyone’s participation and consumer support to make the greatest difference.
Drinking water is plain, uncarbonated, unflavored water. Flavored water and carbonated water are not covered in this bylaw.
There are numerous locations around the island where you can refill your water bottle, with additional filling stations planned: https://www.nantucket-ma.gov/1371/Water-Stations. Additionally, only water in a single-use plastic or non-recyclable container of a liter or less is banned in this bylaw. Local businesses have already found alternative containers for drinking water made from other materials. Using a reusable water is preferable in order to minimize waste from single-use items, as well as reduce carbon emissions associated with production and transportation of single-use items.
Vending machines are commercial sale and distribution, and they will not be permitted to sell items included in the ban.
As long as the items are for personal use and not commercial use and distribution, bringing these items in from off-island is permitted under the bylaw. However, again, we hope all will join in the spirit of the bylaw in reducing single-use plastic waste. We need everyone’s participation and consumer support to make the greatest difference.
This bylaw will rely on complaint-based enforcement, as the Biodegradable Packaging Bylaw does.
The objective of waste stream separation is to handle all waste in the most sustainable ways possible, within the limitations and unique challenges Nantucket faces pertaining to waste management. Reducing the amount of waste generated is the first, and most effective and efficient, step in minimizing our impact on the health of the natural environment, and in turn our own health. While there are single-use alternatives to each of the banned items, we encourage you to consider reusable alternatives to these items. This minimizes waste and reduces carbon emissions associated with production and transportation of single-use items.
Most compostable plastics need certain conditions in an industrial composter to break down, which Nantucket’s waste management facility at 188 Madaket Road may or may not meet. The Department of Public Works and Waste Options Nantucket are working on conducting research to better understand the capabilities of our Composter and composting process.
Cleaning up the Compostable Waste stream by keeping plastic and other non-biodegradable materials out of it, creates more possibilities for finding ways to properly handle compostable plastics locally.
For more information about how to sort your ‘trash’ visit: https://www.nantucket-ma.gov/SolidWaste.
Nantucket has an existing Biodegradable Packaging Bylaw, which is related to this Single-Use Plastics bylaw but covers packaging: https://ecode360.com/11471185. The 2020-Plastics Ban Informal Work Group is looking into possibly merging the regulations for the Biodegradable Packaging Bylaw and regulations for this Single-Use Plastics Bylaw, as well as better understanding loopholes in the existing Biodegradable Packaging Bylaw regulations.
Initially the proposed ban was more comprehensive than what was voted on at Special Town Meeting. In the future, there is the possibility for adding additional items to the bylaw.
Yes, this bylaw prohibits petroleum-based plastics only; compostable plastics, bamboo and other natural materials are permitted. Most compostable plastics items are currently made from polylactic acid (PLA), though there are other types of compostable plastics. Regardless, all compostable plastic items indicate on the item that it is compostable. Please note: the terms “biodegradable” and “oxo-degradable” do not signify that a material is “compostable,” nor are those terms interchangeable for “compostable.”
Click on this link: https://nantucketma.justfoia.com/publicportal/home/newrequest
You may pay your parking ticket online BY CLICKING HERE or you can follow the payment instructions printed on the ticket.
You may pay for your beach permit online at the town's online payments page or you can stop by the Police Department, Lobby Records Window, between Monday and Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (June 15-September 1 everyday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.), located at:
4 Fairgrounds Road
Cold patch is also very expensive. It costs approximately $200/ton and it also has constraints: 1) it requires special handling, 2) needs to be kept covered, 3) it must be stored under cover to retain its adhesive properties, and 4) it tends to leak oils at certain temperatures. As a result, the Town does not “just cold patch everything" but rather applies this solution where and when appropriate.
A pothole fixer is a specialized massive infrared panel that is lowered onto the street; it heats the asphalt around the pothole prior to filling it, ensuring that the new material bonds strongly to the surrounding road, preventing repeated repairs.
1. Use the SeeClickFix mobile phone app, or2. Call DPW at 508-228-7244 and a traceable work order will be created, or3. Report via this website.
All of those options are great and DPW is taking notes as they drive around to make sure they know where potholes are, too.
The landfill fees are been reviewed and will be published in January 2020.
All land transfers and any transfer of interest, including leases (of 30 years or more including extensions) must be processed through the Land Bank prior to being recorded in our office. Visit their website or call their office at 508-228-7240.
Visit the Registry of Deeds at 16 Broad Street, Nantucket MA. The Registry is open for research Monday through Friday, 8am – 4pm.
If you cannot make it to the Registry, you may send a request by mail.
The request must include:
A cover letter with the book and page or Registered Land document number of the deed or document.
A check made out to the “Nantucket Registry of Deeds” for the exact amount of the transaction.
The cost for copies is $1.00 per page. You may call the Registry at 508-228-7250 if you are unsure of the number of pages in your deed or document.
A self-addressed, stamped envelope for the return of the deed or document to you.
Mail To: Nantucket Registry of Deeds16 Broad Street Nantucket MA 02554
You can locate and print a non-certified copy of deeds and documents online for free by clicking here. Please note the search criteria is automatically set to the Recorded Land Name Search. If your property is Registered Land, click on Search Criteria in the top left corner and click “Registered Land (Land Court) – Name Search”*
* Please note the masslandrecords.com website uses pop-up windows to view, print, and download documents. Your pop-up blocker must be turned off. This is not something our office can help you with.
Click here for a guide on how to use the online database.Important things to remember:
Instructions for Online Orders
When placing an order online, please note the following:
The Registry is open Monday through Friday;
Recording hours are from 8am – 12pm and 1pm – 3:45pm.
Research hours are from 8am -4pm.
Please click here for a complete list of our current fees.
In Massachusetts an Excise Stamp Tax (MGL c.64D, s.1) shall apply to deeds, instruments or writings whereby any lands, tenements or other realty sold shall be granted, assigned, transferred or otherwise conveyed to, or vested in, the purchaser...when the consideration of the interest or property conveyed, exclusive of the value of any lien or encumbrance remaining thereon at the time of sale. There is no excise tax due where the consideration stated is less than $100.00.
The excise tax rate is $4.56 per $1000.00 of consideration, rounded up to the nearest $500. For example: if a consideration is stated as $1,546,300.00, then the deeds excise is calculated using $1,546,500.00 and the total fee would be $7,052.04.
Please note: a separate check is required for excise tax payments.
No. Todas las oficinas del municipio y el condado de Nantucket están cerradas hasta el 18 de mayo del 2020.
No. Many close for the winter. But, there are always restaurants open in the off-season.
Yes. A weekly list is available to take from the office or on the website.
Any residential, commercial, or municipal property owner or tenant wishing to display a sign exceeding 2’ by 6” in width or a second sign of any size on any lot, building, or structure must apply. Signs that are displayed on a building or a window and are visible from a traveled way (including temporary signs or the relocation or alteration of existing signs) must receive approval from the Historic District Commission.
Freestanding signs are not permitted. The HDC defines freestanding signs to include any sign attached to, or part of a completely self-supporting structure, other than a building or a fence, including rock signs for commercial purposes. Refer to Appendix C for further information.
A political sign is a temporary sign used to advertise candidates for public office or to address public concerns. The HDC encourages political signs to conform to all relevant stated guidelines. The HDC recommends political candidate signs be removed immediately following an election, however signage must be limited to 30 days.
A Non-Commercial sign is generally used to express concerns and political points of view. The HDC encourages non-commercial signs to conform to all relevant stated guidelines.
On occasion non-commercial yard signs gather in visible public spaces throughout the island and on private property. Sometimes the Town is asked to remove these signs however the "simple" answer is that such signs are considered an extension of free speech and are allowed in the public way and on private property. The Town has been advised that the power of the Town to regulate speech in a public way is limited. Due to a 2015 Supreme Court case (Reed v. Gilbert, AZ), a municipality may no longer regulate non-commercial signs based on the content of the message. Public streets and sidewalks are generally recognized as public forums. They are generally considered to be publicly owned areas where individuals have the right to traverse, speak freely, protest and assemble.
No sign shall be installed in a manner or location that obstructs a public way or causes any relevant safety concerns.
The Sign Advisory Council started meeting via Zoom on 06/23/20. They meet every Tuesday at 9:00 am. Participants will receive Zoom and meetings instructions. The link to the meeting will be posted on the Sign Advisory Council agenda. This will be a recorded meeting and is accessible 24 hours by clicking an additional link on the agenda. Participants are strongly urged to attend.
Nantucket is served by the Massachusetts One-Stop Career Center.
You can call 508-771-5627 or 508-771-(JOBS) or visit their website. They offer two ways to file for unemployment insurance (UI Claim), call the UI Teleclaim Center at 877-626-6800 or visit the Career Opportunities Office and file your claim in person. Unemployment insurance services walk-in hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to Noon and the 1 to 3 p.m.
A cross connection is a connection between a drinking water pipe and a polluted source. The pollution can come from your own home. For instance, you’re going to spray fertilizer on your lawn. You hook up your hose to the sprayer that contains the fertilizer. If the water pressure drops at the same time you turn on the hose, the fertilizer may be sucked back into the drinking water pipes through the hose. This problem can be prevented by using an attachment on your hose called a backflow-prevention device.The Wannacomet Water Company and the Siasconset Water Department recommends the installation of backflow prevention devices, such as a low-cost hose bib vacuum breaker, for all inside and outside hose connections. You can purchase this at a hardware store or plumbing supply store. This is a great way for you to help protect the water in your home as well as the drinking water system in your town! For additional information on cross connections and on the status of your water systems cross connection program, please contact Chris Pykosz, Wannacomet Operations Manager at 5
Lead is a mineral which is found in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. It can be a serious health risk when too much of it enters the body.
Lead rarely occurs naturally in water. Lead may not be in your drinking water, but if it is, it typically enters your water after it leaves your local treatment plant or well. Lead is dissolved in water by corrosion of lead pipe or lead soldered pipe joints commonly found in the water distribution system.
Even if your home contains lead or lead soldered plumbing, you are not necessarily at risk. Over time, mineral deposits may form a coating on the inside of pipes which can prevent water from contacting lead plumbing materials. This coating usually takes years to form, and may not form at all. Lead plumbing materials have been identified as the primary source of lead contamination in drinking water today.
If your home was built after 1986, it is unlikely that your home plumbing system contains any lead. In 1986, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the use of lead pipes and pipe fittings containing more than 8 percent lead, and the use of solder containing more than 0.2 percent lead. Before 1930, lead pipes were commonly used in home plumbing and in the connections between homes and the public water supply. Copper pipes were often joined with lead solder until this practice was prohibited in 1986.
According to the EPA, everyone who ingests lead is susceptible to its effects because it accumulates in the body. At sufficient levels, lead can impair the reproductive and central nervous systems and may interfere with behavioral and emotional development.
In adults, lead can increase blood pressure and interfere with hearing. At high levels of exposure, lead can cause anemia, kidney damage and mental retardation.
Because of their size, children are at even greater risk than adults. Lead can reduce childrens’ IQ, causing them to become slow learners, and it can interfere with the formation of red blood cells. Lead can also delay the physical and mental development of babies and young children and impair the mental abilities of children in general.
The United States EPA sets the standards for what is considered a safe exposure to lead in drinking water. Federal law requires municipal water utilities to monitor tap water lead levels in a percentage of the households they served. Corrosion control treatment must be installed if more than 10% of these households have had levels greater than the action level of 15 parts per billion. Utilities are required to replace lead service lines within the next 15 years if a problem persists. The EPA has established a maximum contaminant level goal of zero lead content. This is solely a health goal and is not enforceable on public water systems.
The best way to find out whether your water has lead in it, is to have it tested. Please call the Water Company for a list of approved laboratories in the area that you can call to have your water tested for led.
One precaution is to flush the tap water each morning for about one minute, or until cold, to clear out lead that accumulates overnight. Use only cold water for drinking and cooking. Hot water is more likely to dissolve lead into the water than cold water and may contain more lead as a result.
You may have a leak, your meter may have been misread, you may have simply used more water than normal - especially during the summer months. Customers often times are unaware of how much water they actually use. Please call the Water Company for a review of your account.
Yes, the water meets or exceeds all D.E.P. and E.P.A. standards.
Everyone is billed monthly. If you do not receive your bill, please call the Water Company at 508-228-0022.
Effective 1/1/98, the Town of Nantucket contracted with the Water Company to do the billing.
To prevent your service pipe between the house and meter from freezing during the winter.
The service charge recovers the fixed cost.
On August 9, 2019, the Town of Nantucket issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the development of municipal solar projects at a variety of Town facilities and properties, including: the Surfside Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), Nantucket Memorial Airport, DPW, Public Schools, Public Safety Facility, Landfill facilities, and Wannacomet Water Company properties.
On January 31, 2020, SunPower was selected as the winning bidder by an inter-department municipal evaluation committee to develop two municipal projects: a small (grant-funded) roof-mounted system at the Surfside WWTP and a larger ground-mounted array at the Wannacomet Water Company property, located at 1 Milestone Road. A third proposed project: a solar carport at the Public Safety Facility, has since been put on hold as the Town prioritizes the Surfside and Wannacomet projects.
Sunpower will develop, own, and operate the solar project at the Wannacomet Water Company property, which will provide economic and environmental benefits to Nantucket.
The proposed solar project is sized at 4.7MW DC, and will consist of two solar subarrays and one battery energy storage system. The southernmost sub-array #1, adjacent to Old South Road, will be comprised of 4500 solar panels. The northernmost sub-array (#2), located adjacent to Milestone Road, will be comprised of 6300 solar panels. Each Maxeon solar panel is rated at 435watt, and considered to be amongst the highest-performing and efficient available. The Tesla Battery is rated at 1.265 MW/2.529MWH, and will be utilized for peak demand management and local grid resiliency.
Over the solar project’s 20-year lifetime, the system is expected to produce 117 million kWh in clean energy and will offset 4,230 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, helping to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change and elevated sea levels on the island.
Additionally, the locally-produced solar power will improve local grid reliability and resiliency, reduce the island’s dependance on imported power from the mainland including from “dirty” power plants located in disadvantaged communities, and will help to mitigate the need for a costly third-undersea-transmission cable by significantly reducing the island’s summer peak load
Over the 20-year contract term, the usable savings for the Town is $5.7 million dollars, or $293,000 in Annual Revenue. The solar project will generate 46% of the Town’s annual kWh consumption.
In a formal opinion issued by Town Counsel on February 22, 2021, the Wyer’s Valley Property—acquired and used for water supply purposes—is not subject to Article 97 protection, and therefore may be used for the leasing of a solar energy project.
The total disturbance of the project is 13.6 acres (10.65 acres inside fence & 2.95 acres outside fenced area for shade management). The site will be cleared using conventional construction methods. Prior to any construction, a storm water pollution prevention plan (SWWPP) will be established to meet all local and state construction regulations. Post construction, SunPower plans to establish a pollinator habitat within the fenced areas using an approved seed mix when stabilizing top soils.
The Commonwealth’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) determined the project will result in a take of habitat for six species of butterflies and moths. SunPower is currently working through the MESA/ MEPA permitting process with the support of the Town of Nantucket and Wannacomet Water Company. Collaboratively, a conservation management plan to mitigate the loss of habitat at 1 Milestone Road is being proposed to occur at 211 Cliff Rd. This strategy would place 211 Cliff Rd. under a conservation restrictin and secures open space for a minimum of 20 years.
Prior to commencement of construction, SunPower will need to have secured approvals from the Nantucket HDC, National Grid, NHESP, Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), Wannacomet Water and the Town of Nantucket.
The HDC approved the solar project in November 2020, with the condition of a 50’ natural buffer and screening enhancement plan. See: Wyer’s Way Screening Recommendations Memo (PDF)
The proposed project is being developed in accordance with guidance published by MassDEP for the development of renewable energy projects on lands held for public water supply purposes. To secure the required MassDEP approval for the project, Wannacomet Water will need to sign a certification stating the project “will have no significant adverse impact on its present and future ability to provide continuous adequate service to consumers under routine and emergency operating conditions, including emergencies concerning the contamination of sources of supply, failure of the distribution system and shortage of supply…[and] that the solar energy project will have no significant adverse impact on water quality and that the energy generated by the facility will be used to benefit, either by direct consumption or by other means, the operation of the public water system.”
To support the aforementioned certification, SunPower will supply Wannacomet Water with toxicity test results for the solar modules from a MassDEP-certified testing agency, pursuant to state and federal standards for Maximum Contaminant Level thresholds, including both PFAs and Gen-x materials.
Sunpower is solely responsible for purchasing, maintaining or disposing of any equipment associated with the project. At the end of the 20-year project term, the solar project equipment will be removed from the site and all materials which can be recycled (i.e. solar modules, copper wire, steel support structure) will be. After removal of the project equipment, any disturbed project areas will be stabilized and re-seeded to restore the site to a condition comparable to the existing condition prior to project development.