By Rachel Goff

Last November, Moretown Landfill submitted an application to construct a fourth trash cell on site, subject to state and local approval. The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) became the first to comment on the landfill's Cell 4 application last month, when Ben Gauthier of ANR's Solid Waste Management Division declared it "technically incomplete at this time" in a letter to Moretown Landfill's attorney, Adam Sowatzka, dated January 21.

According to Gauthier, the groundwater feasibility study submitted by Moretown Landfill per requirement of the consent order issued by the Environmental Division of Vermont Superior Court last September shows that the arsenic, manganese and iron—all Contaminants of Concern (COC)—present at the Route 2 facility "are mobilized due to the change in redox potential caused by the presence of the landfill; a condition [that] will only be exacerbated by any future landfill construction (i.e., Cell 4)," Gauthier said.

Any proposed expansion of Moretown Landfill needs to address this groundwater issue, Gauthier explained, thus the landfill needs to submit a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) for the site before the ANR can consider its application to construct a fourth trash cell.

Previously, Moretown Landfill had proposed to submit a CAP to the ANR before June 1, 2015, but Gauthier advised Sowatzka that the facility submit its CAP "as soon as possible," in order to expedite application review process for Cell 4.

Whether the landfill is able to re-open with the construction of Cell 4 or not, the town of Moretown is outlining a schedule for rewriting the host-town agreement it maintains with the facility, as the old agreement expired in August of 2013, less than a month after the state ordered Moretown Landfill to stop accepting waste.

At their meeting on January 21, the Moretown Select Board stated that they will take the lead on writing a new host-town agreement, with input from the community. The board plans to host public hearings before passing their wishes over to the town's attorneys so they can put in the proper legal jargon. As of now, the board hopes to hold the first public meeting on March 31.