More to landfill story
This letter is in response to Mr. Grenier’s Dec. 4 letter in which he suggests that the secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources, Deb Markowitz, check her agenda and move on with the permit process for Moretown Landfill Inc. The ANR has issued multiple notices of alleged violation to MLI with regard to the solid waste management rules of Vermont. The secretary is following the rules as they apply to both current and future permits.
Vermont passed Act 148, related to establishing universal recycling of solid waste. This passed unanimously and provides the message that we need to change our waste stream and keep valuable resources: recyclables, compostable food scraps and yard debris out of landfills. Expanding landfills contradicts the direction of the state.
This is not a “no odors” standard. “The owner and operator shall take all steps necessary to prevent and/or control spills, nuisance dust, vectors, windblown debris and odors.” In addition to solid waste management documentation, since August 2011, 230 off-site odor complaints have been investigated. Alleged violations are not limited to odors either. The Nov. 20, 2012, notice of alleged violation cites erosion exposing trash; stormwater trash contact without proper collection; lack of random load inspections; excess leachate on the liner; failure to report leachate levels to the state; lack of leachate flow monitoring; inadequate control of landfill gas emissions and gas well temps.
Mr. Grenier prefers to characterize MLI, which is owned by Advanced Disposal Services, the largest privately owned solid waste company in the United States, as servants of the community. He does this by citing their response to Irene and their contributions to charity. Is the suggestion that this somehow validates turning a blind eye to the violations of rules put in place to protect our environment, health and quality of life? Also, Mr. Grenier, let’s not mistake the disposal of our trash at a privately held, out-of-state company located in Vermont and many other states, as contributing to “buy local.”
Mr. Grenier’s suggestion is that the state agency tasked with environmental protection should ignore the governing rules, as well as the potential impacts to the nearby Winooski River and beyond in order to prevent negative financial impacts and preserve the convenience for those whose distance from the landfill allows them to, at least for now, shut out the possible health impacts, certain environmental impacts and overall destruction of the aesthetic quality of Vermont. This is both absurd and offensive.
Mr. Grenier cites the sudden realization of the Moretown Select Board regarding the potential end to approximately $532,000 paid by the landfill for the “nuisance of their existence.” Since July 1999 the Moretown Select Board has received copies of violation notices and the possible impact those violations could have upon continued operations. Consider the direct correlation drawn between the money and the “nuisance.” For neighbors of MLI the “nuisance” affects the quality of daily lives and the value of property and offers potential effects on the long-term health of families. I ask your readers to consider what they consider to be adequate compensation for these things in their lives.
Martha D. Douglass
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