"A sulfuric kind of smell," Raoul Cervantes said. "We've also smelled rotting eggs type of smell."
While we hope this story reeks of detail, we may never be able to help you experience what Raoul Cervantes lives with.
"When I had my visitors come for Thanksgiving and they came up and said it smells like a sewer," Cervantes said.
He's one of a handful of neighbors near the Moretown landfill. It's at capacity, its permit has expired and the stench of sludge can be smelled from Interstate 89. Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz says its out-of-state owners have been given a number of second chances.
"It's caused odor problems for 13 years. There have been 13 years of problems," Markowitz said.
Friday the state announced it intends to deny their most recent request to stay open.
"Our technical staff didn't see anything in that proposal that would give them confidence that these odor problems would be resolved," Markowitz said.
"I think the town in general really needs to keep it," John Lynch said.
Lynch is one of many Moretown residents benefiting from a "host town" contract. Out-of-state trash has become Moretown's treasure. Residents only pay 50 cents for trash drops compared to $4.50 at other locations, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue paid directly to the town coffers. If Moretown closes as the state expects it will by March, the only landfill left in Vermont would be the one in Coventry.
"I hate to see just one landfill in the whole state of Vermont," Lynch said.
But Markowitz says landfills are a regional business, that Moretown has been warned and there are other options if competition is deemed necessary.
"We actually have three landfills in Vermont that are fully permitted, ready to be built. And the reason they haven't been built is because right now we have a surplus of landfill space in the region," Markowitz said.
For Cervantes it's a decision long overdue.
"We keep trying to push this thing to the inevitability that our children and grandchildren having to deal with it. We might as well deal with it now because it's going to happen eventually," Cervantes said.
The parent company of the landfill would not speak with the press Friday but did release this statement:
"Advanced Disposal has a strong track record of landfill management compliance and stewardship. Some unfortunate decisions were made by the previous operators, which have led to the odor issues and state's concerns. We're working aggressively to remedy these issues and prove that the landfill can operate in compliance with the law."
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