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Grow Compost sited for odor issues

Last winter, Moretown Landfill received several notices of alleged violations from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR), the most predominant being the Route 2 facility's failure to control offsite odors. Moretown Landfill has since closed, per settlement conditions created by the Vermont Superior Court's environmental division, but smells are still coming from the facility's eco-friendly neighbors, Grow Compost of Vermont LLC.

On July 26, Grow Compost of Vermont LLC, an organic compost company owned by Moretown residents Lisa Ransom and Scott Baughman, received a notice of alleged violation from the ANR for violating the Vermont solid waste facility certification condition that states "the operator shall manage the composting operation to insure that no objectionable odors will be caused off-site."

According to the ANR, agency staff investigating complaints observed objectionable odors offsite on multiple occasions, citing May 30, July 10 and July 23. "All three incidents were determined to be a result of Grow Compost operations," the letter from ANR director George Desch read.

Grow Compost is located just next door to Moretown Landfill, and Ransom and Baughman have voiced their concerns at several Moretown Development Review Board (DRB) hearings regarding the landfill's proposed expansion about how its odor, noise and truck have affected their ability to run an environmentally sustainable business, even hiring a lawyer to help them take legal action.

Grow Compost's most recent notice of alleged violation, however, follows one Ransom and Baughman received earlier last month that suggests their company isn't entirely environmentally sustainable in its own right.

On July 1, the ANR issued a notice of alleged violation to Grow Compost for "unpermitted discharge of compost leachate to waters of the state and violation of construction and operational conditions of the above certification, plans and storm water permits," ANR chief environmental enforcement office Sean McVeigh wrote.

Grow Compost had five days to submit a written plan detailing steps that would be taken to immediately cease discharge of leachate as well as submit an application to amend or renew the facility's current certification to account for the infrastructure changes needed to fix the problem.

Demonstrating complete compliance, Grow Compost took immediate action and applied for an amendment to their certification. "Design changes made early in the design process to accommodate the Agency of Transportation requirements altered the installation of the operational stormwater treatment system during construction," Ransom and Baughman explained in their letter of response to ANR. "The recent heavy rain has brought deficiencies in this system to light." As The Valley Reporter went to press on Wednesday, August 21, the Grow Compost owners had yet to respond to the ANR notice of alleged violation concerning odors.

All violations aside, Ransom and Baughman told the Moretown Select Board at their meeting on Monday, August 19, that they've noticed more and more people taking advantage of their free, eco-friendly waste disposal service. "It's amazing how much our residential compost and food scrap drop-off has grown," Baughman said, proving that the closure of Moretown Landfill has helped residents think twice about how their actions hurt the planet and Grow Compost has helped them protect it.

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