Soon after it shut its gates, Moretown Landfill is re-opening them, and they let the Moretown Select Board know as much this week.
On Monday, April 22, spokespeople for the Route 2 facility announced that the company will be accepting trash from local residents, effective immediately. Moretown Landfill was initially ordered by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) to close by April 15, but state environmental court granted the facility a 90-day extension that will allow it to re-open as it appeals the ANR's decision not to recertify two of its trash cells.
As of last week, Moretown Landfill had not yet announced whether it planned to take advantage of this allowance, but at Monday's meeting it explained its decision to re-open to the Moretown Select Board and to residents until the court issues a final decision regarding the recertification of its cells on July 15.
"We, as a company, sat down, and we made some business decisions," Dave Lavender said, explaining the landfill's decision to continue accepting residential waste. Lavender is regional vice-president of Advanced Disposal Services, the company that took over ownership of Moretown Landfill from Interstate Waste Services in September of 2012 and has since invested over $1 million in bringing the facility into compliance with state standards.
"We firmly believe that this disposal facility is a much needed, vital economic and infrastructure asset for the state of Vermont and the local community," Mary O'Brien, chief marketing officer for Advanced Disposal, said, explaining the company's commitment to recertification.
Currently, "We've got the gas wells under control," Moretown Landfill general manager Mike DiMaggio said as an update on the improvements Advanced Disposal has made to under-regulated systems that were likely the cause of neighbors' numerous odor complaints.
With these improvements, Moretown Landfill "is going to push through with its Cell 4 application," Lavender said, confirming that the facility plans to resubmit either a heavily revised or an entirely new application for the 42-acre expansion project that—if approved—would expand the landfill's life by 15 to 18 years.
Interstate Waste Services submitted an application to construct Cell 4 last year but, after holding several Moretown Development Review Board hearings to obtain local permits, suspended the application until May to focus on recertifying the facility's existing cells.
According to Lavender, Interstate Waste Services' application for Cell 4 was inadequate. "We feel we can do it better," he said, but many who attended the meeting expressed the same concerns about off-site odors and groundwater pollution.
"I can't guarantee that we're never going to have odors," Mike DiMaggio said in response, "but I can guarantee that they'll be dealt with right away." As for groundwater pollution, Lavender reported that Advanced Disposal is evaluating whether or not it's a valid concern.
At the end of the meeting, the select board thanked Moretown Landfill for re-opening. "We appreciate the money you've been putting in and the efforts you've made," Tom Martin said.