The state ordered it closed, and Saturday will be the last day open for the Moretown Landfill. How its closure will impact the town and the region.
Over the years, the community of Moretown has become inextricably linked with their landfill along the Winooski River. From funding about half the town's $1 million budget, to providing 50-cent-a-bag garbage and free recycling.
"They've been good neighbors. They subsidize our recycling and hazardous waste collection-- about $40,000 a year they spent on this. They truck and manage all our recyclables," said Jonathan Siegel who supports the landfill.
Even to the extent that when flooding displaced the town offices, the landfill offered to let them move into the bottom floor of their Route 2 main office.
Town officials say the loss of revenue from the landfill will have to be made up by increased property taxes-- about $280 for a house valued at $200,000. The closure has also raised concerns about an increase of trash hauling traffic headed to the Northeast Kingdom. A recent study by the Lamoille County Planning Commission predicted increased traffic through communities likes Stowe and Hyde Park.
Private transfer stations, like the RTR Center in Waterbury, have already raised their prices across the board and say they may have to raise them further. As for the larger trash haulers, it's not clear whether they will have to raise prices.
Along with concerns by some about a return to burn barrels and more trash along the roads, the head of the local solid waste district says he's concerned recycling efforts will take a hit.
"You have this intuitive response of the people to say, if it's free to recycle, I'm going to minimize the amount of the trash I'm going to have to throw out," said John Malter of the Mad River Resource Management Alliance.
The closure of Moretown leaves Vermont with one landfill in Coventry. Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz has said capacity is not a problem when it comes to solid waste disposal.
"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 in December.
"This is not an advanced disposal problem. This is not a Moretown problem. This is a society problem. We have to deal with this together to make it work as safely and economically viable as possible," Malter said.
Advanced Disposal has until mid-April to submit their appeal to the Environmental Court.
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