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As of Sunday, March 31, Moretown Landfill is no longer accepting non-contracted incoming loads of waste, and everyone's waiting to see how their rubbish removal rates will increase.
On the online social networking site, Front Porch Forum (FPF), Moretown residents in particular have expressed their disappointment with Vermont Agency of Natural Resources' (ANR) decision not to recertify Moretown Landfill's trash cells, as well of the apparent lack of support from the state in helping the region prepare for the sudden loss of facility.
"Just because the landfill is closing doesn't mean our need for a landfill will disappear," resident Jessica Chenette posted to the Moretown FPF on Friday, March 29. "Our garbage needs to go somewhere!"
That same day, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation's waste management and prevention division published a bulletin with the names and phone numbers of other transfer stations in the area. The bulletin is available via a link on the town of Moretown's website (moretownvt.org).
Now, residents who used to take their trash directly to the landfill have the option of taking it to Earthwise Transfer Station in Waitsfield or RTR Transfer Station in Waterbury.
Earthwise is owned by Casella Waste Services, the company that owns the state's only remaining landfill in Coventry, so its rates are less likely to increase than those of privately owned transfer stations like RTR, which reports to having recently raised its rates. Right now, Earthwise charges $2.85 per white bag and $4.50 per black bag, while the RTR Transfer Station in Waterbury charges $3 per white bag and $5 per black bag.
Residents who pay for trash pick-up at their houses could also see their rates increase, depending on where the trash is headed.
Bruce Dunbar, who owns the Fayston-based Dunbar Trash Removal, takes his loads to Earthwise. Dunbar does not expect his rates to increase, but he understands that the closure of Moretown Landfill "is a big inconvenience for people other than myself," he said.
Last week, Mad River Resources Management Alliance director John Malter talked to host Mark Johnson on WDEV 96.1 FM about the different programs the alliance ran out of Moretown Landfill, including electronic (e-waste), book, textile and used crankcase oil recycling, among others.
Regarding the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources' (ANR) decision not to recertify Moretown Landfill's trash cells, "There certainly were problems with odors," Malter said. "The people who live within the immediate vicinity of the landfill certainly have some pretty valid gripes," he said, but "the landfill has been a good citizen to the folks."
"During the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the landfill utilized several months of their capacity to help the communities—not just within the alliance but throughout the state—to support the proper disposal of debris," Malter explained, "and some of it they didn't even charge the residents and the communities for."
Whether The Valley is losing a good citizen or kicking out a bad one is subject to debate, but in the immediate aftermath of Moretown Landfill's closure, "We are not without options, and I think that is the important thing," Malter said.