You can see the trash, but it's what you smell from the Moretown landfill that has neighbors most upset.
"It's the surface emissions. It's the gas; it's the landfill gas and that isn't effected by whether you've got the winter or not," said Martha Douglass of Moretown.
Folks living in the shadows of the site say the gas has caused them problems for more than a decade.
"We've got people with health issues that are closer to the landfill that are having headaches and nausea," Douglass said.
The landfill has battled state environmental regulators for years and has promised to fix the problem for just as long. This month the landfill's owners brought in new leadership to tackle the old problem.
"We're spending the money, we've got the right people in place, we've got a new management team," said Mary O'Brien of Advanced Disposal.
The crew from Advanced Disposal says they've pinpointed the major odor problems to ventilation pipes that are flooding and in turn not allowing the gas to be processed as planned. The company says it's introducing a series of $40,000 pumps that will help curb the smell.
But there are skeptics. The Vt. Agency of Natural Resources has notified the landfill of its intent to deny it the recertification it needs to operate. It says previous plans to solve problems at the site have not been satisfactory. ANR Secretary Deb Markowitz says she's prepared to listen to the new ideas, but has doubts. In a statement to WCAX News she said, "... It is hard to imagine what the landfill could propose todaythat would convince the agency's technical staff that moving forward there will be a significant change in the nuisance odors."
Reporter Keith McGilvery: Are you optimistic?
Martha Douglass: At this point, I would have to say no. They're coming in, and certainly we have to listen to what they have to say tonight, but the general history of the company is that they have not been responsive to getting this straightened out.
Advanced Disposal says it's fighting for a fresh start to keep its business a float.
"We believe the fixes can be accomplished when given the green light within a matter of months, probably by the end of February," O'Brien said.
The question now is whether fed up neighbors and frustrated state leaders will give them that chance.
Advanced Disposal is slated to share its proposed solutions with the Moretown select board Thursday night. The Agency of Natural resources is scheduled to make a final decision on recertifying the landfill in March.
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
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