The Moretown Landfill will stop accepting drop-off waste beginning April 1, landfill officials announced Tuesday. The landfill will continue to accept waste from its contracted haulers until April 15, the deadline imposed by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR).
The ANR rejected the landfill’s application for recertification in its third and only active cell earlier this month. Unless Advanced Disposal files a motion to continue operating, the landfill will close on April 15. That will leave Vermont with just one commercial landfill, located in Coventry.
Landfill officials did not clarify why they chose to stop accepting non-contracted waste before the April 15 deadline. Mary O’Brien is the chief marketing officer for Advanced Disposal, the company that operates the landfill. She wrote in an email to VTDigger that “During the appeal process the company has decided to terminate the acceptance of all non-contracted waste as we access all operational options associated with the landfill and ANR’s decision to deny recertification of cell #3.”
The Moretown Landfill has been accused of environmental violations for over a decade. These violations led ANR to its decision to effectively close the landfill. There is a slim possibility the landfill could reopen if ANR approves its application to expand into a fourth cell. That application was submitted before the agency rejected the landfill’s recertification for its active third cell.
“Since there’s an application in house that’s pending, we’re obligated to review that,” said Ben Gauthier of ANR’s Solid Waste Management Program. But it is unlikely ANR would approve that application. “We’d have to make the same findings for cell four that we couldn’t make for cell three.”
O’Brien said the landfill plans to appeal ANR’s decision not to recertify the facility, “but the appeal process will take time.” And, she said, Advanced Disposal is “focusing solely on our appeal at this time,” not on expanding into a fourth cell.
Chris Boulanger, who lives near the landfill and has spoken out against its environmental violations at public meetings, said she’s not worried about where she’ll take her waste. “I’ve started seriously recycling and it’s just amazing how little trash we really throw away,” she said. “And I will be composting now, too. Where I’m going to put the small amount of trash that I do have, I haven’t decided yet, it could be in Waterbury.” She said there are also facilities in Montpelier and the Chittenden Solid Waste District where she can take her trash.
Advanced Disposal took over operation of the landfill in September of last year. The landfill was previously operated by a separate company owned by the same investment firm. Since taking over, Advanced Disposal says it invested over a million dollars in fixing the problems at the landfill. The company says the state didn’t take those improvements into account when it rejected the landfill’s recertification.