BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) – Bristol, Tennessee city officials said Tuesday that a “significant victory has been won” for its residents after they received an agreement from Bristol, Virginia to close the landfill that has been at the center of controversy in both cities and take actions to limit the impacts it has had.

According to a release from Bristol, Tenn., the Virginia city provided an agreement to “close the landfill and to immediately take action to address the ongoing impacts” the facility has had in Bristol.

Tuesday’s release says the victory regarding the landfill “was achieved directly as a result of Bristol, Tennessee’s commitment to protecting its citizens.” The Tennessee city previously filed a lawsuit against its Virginia counterpart, citing violations of multiple acts and claiming that the landfill had created a public nuisance. Bristol, Virginia was quick to propose a settlement in that lawsuit, which included promises to provide reports to Bristol, Tenn. and would provide $250,000 in compensation.

According to officials in the Tennessee city, that settlement did not include timelines for when action would be taken and was “contingent upon outside funding.” Bristol, Tenn. reports that on June 2, the city reiterated its position on the matter and drafted a preliminary injunction that demanded actions be taken within a certain timeframe.

Bristol, Virginia Mayor Anthony Farnum announced on June 8 that the city would comply with an action plan and recommendations from the state and was going to begin the process of ceasing the intake of waste at the facility.

“The City of Bristol is committed to fixing this,” Farnum said at the press conference. “This has really divided us. We’re committed to healing our community and being able to come together again. We’re committed to safely closing and capping this landfill for good.”

The release states that on that same day as Farnum’s announcement, Bristol, Tennessee’s outside counsel had been told Bristol, Virginia had agreed to the injunction with some reservations. The next day, June 9, Bristol, Tenn. reportedly rejected those reservations and maintained its demands.

The injunction sought an order that requires Bristol, Va. to do the following:

1. Install a sidewall odor mitigation system around the perimeter of Defendant’s Bristol Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility located at 2125 Shakesville Road, Bristol, Virginia, 24201(the “Landfill”);

2. Install and monitor a dedicated system of thermocouples in the waste mass to monitor Landfill temperatures;

3. Cease accepting waste at the Landfill;

4. Provide adequate cover of the waste at the Landfill; and

5. Submit a report within sixty days detailing how the other recommendations of the Expert Panel Report: Bristol Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility, Bristol, Virginia, dated April 25, 2022, will be accomplished.

On June 10, the release states, Bristol, Va. agreed to its sister city’s terms, and the preliminary injunction was filed in court soon after.

“Once entered by the judge, this order will provide a clear set of actions and enforceable timeline, starting from the date of entry of the order, for addressing issues at the landfill,” the release states. “While this order resolves Bristol, Tennessee’s motion for preliminary injunction, the lawsuit against Bristol, Virginia remains open, giving Bristol, Tennessee the ability to seek further enforcement action and damages if necessary. Bristol, Tennessee will closely monitor Bristol, Virginia’s compliance with this order.”

Bristol, Tennessee stated at the end of the release that the city hopes to continue a positive relationship in the future with Bristol, Virginia.

The release included a timeline of events marking Bristol, Tennessee’s key efforts in reaching its agreement with its sister city. The first event documented was in September 2021, when the city first retained legal counsel and a health toxicologist to begin developing a strategy. You can read the full timeline in the document below:

For complete coverage of the ongoing issues related to the Bristol, Virginia Landfill, click here.