The Moretown landfill has been at capacity for months, but has been causing a stink around the region for years.
"This should be a surprise to no one," said Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz Friday. She said problems with smell and ground water quality outweigh recent efforts by owners, Advanced Disposal, to improve the facility. The company aimed to get the landfill re-certified so they could then submit a separate request to expand. Now it appears that expansion is not in the cards. "based on their own submittals we have no faith moving forward that the odors can be managed adequately at this site," Markowitz said.
Seventeen percent of the Chittenden Solid Waste District's trash goes to Moretown. Manager Tom Moreau worries that canning the Moretown landfill will cause the cost to dump your stuff to go up, as trucks will have to travel to the state's only other landfill in Coventry, or to regional facilities in New York. "You know, diesel fuel costs money -- time and labor to drive these tractor trailers up there and back," he said.
But Moreau said that the cost problem also comes with a silver lining. "The more expensive trash gets, the more economical it is to get people to recycle," he said.
Advanced Disposal officials did not return phone calls Friday for to comment on the decision. But in a statement released by the company, they said they are extremely disappointed with the decision and plan to appeal.
Markowitz said she doesn't think the appeal will work. "Rules are rules and they couldn't meet their burden, so we couldn't issue the re-certification," she said.
Advanced Disposal must submit a closure and odor management plan to the Agency of Natural Resources by April 15th for approval, then the gates will be closed for good.
There are three other potential landfill sites in the state. Deb Markowitz said one site owner is looking into becoming operational. But landfills operate regionally and she said there is plenty of room left at ones already up and running.
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