Moretown weighs in on odorous landfill - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Moretown weighs in on odorous landfill

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MORETOWN, Vt. -

Before a crowd of about 50, landfill representatives tried to convince the people of Moretown that they understand their frustrations.

"We're not here to tell you anything that you don't know already," said company spokeswoman Mary O'Brien. "We know that there is an odor issue. We have nothing to hide. We want to be a company that's transparent to you."

But not everyone's buying it.

"You didn't come forth to all the people on Route 2," explained Moretown resident Tom Douglass. "There was no P.R. lady coming to us saying ‘we're digging up the landfill to put some horizontal piping in and it's going to stink like hell for a while.'"

Even the select board is irked by an apparent lack of communication.

"Get on the right foot and contact the select board who runs the town so at least we know what's going on, said selectboard chair John Hoogenboom.

"In regards to day to day operations, communication issues: that's my fault," O'Brien responded.

The company says it has what previous owners lacked -- the muscle of a 1.1 million dollar plan pitched Thursday night -- that they say will put a stop to the terrible smell troubling so many in town.

"We said we're terminating accepting any of that odorous sludge. So that was the first step in correcting the problem," O'Brien said to the residents.

$450,000 of that has already been invested in upgrades -- but state regulators say they won't renew the re-certification the company needs in order to proceed -- due to a history of problems at the landfill. Right now their work has essentially been halted. And though Advanced Disposal is promising a brighter tomorrow -- "We can't change the past, but what we hope to do is to work with you to build a better future for Moretown, explained O'Brien -- many residents are skeptical that the stink they say is sinking their property values will ever actually go away.

"With this work you're going to be doing, is this going to create more odors?" asked resident Dan Noyes.

"At times, it will," responded O'Brien.

"With these odors, what are you going to do with these neighbors around the landfill to protect us?" asked Noyes.

State regulators will make a final ruling on the issue on March 8th but in a statement to Channel 3 News-- Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz says "It is hard to imagine what the landfill could propose today that would convince the agency's technical staff that moving forward there will be a significant change in the nuisance odors."

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