BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) — With the Bristol, Virginia Landfill no longer taking trash, the city has lost a revenue stream as it seeks funding to permanently close the facility.
The landfill stopped accepting waste after Friday, a move that followed months of complaints from residents regarding odors coming from the facility.
The city is now sending its trash to the Advanced Disposal landfill in Blountville, where Bristol, Virginia Vice-Mayor Neal Osborne says the city is paying the at-gate rate to dispose of its waste.
It’s a move that will be costly for the city as it moves forward with permanently closing the landfill.
“There’s going to be a recurring cost without any kind of associated-revenue line item coming in to cover it,” Osborne said.
The city previously received revenue from several Southwest Virginia localities that used the Bristol landfill.
Shuttering the landfill will be expensive and Osborne says the city will need to find the funding.
“We’re going to have to continue monitoring this landfill for at least 20 or 30 years, so there’s going to be a cost to that in terms of dealing with the water runoff and dealing with just the upkeep of the gas wells,” he said.
Osborne says it is too early to know how much dumping the city’s trash at the Blountville landfill will cost. While residents will not see any changes to trash pickup, that may not be the case for rates.
“We don’t know anything about what rates will be,” Osborne said. “It may be an increased cost down the road, but we can’t say for sure.”
The city may also face fines from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality as it works to meet the expectations of the DEQ’s expert panel.
City council voted Tuesday night to make a supplemental appropriation to the FY2023 budget of $100,000 for potential fees to the DEQ.
Both City Manager Randall Eads and Osborne could not say what the potential fine might be. Over two weeks ago, the DEQ issued a warning against the city for failing to monitor stormwater runoff.
If there is a violation, it would give the DEQ the legal authority to impose civil penalties up to $100,000 under the state water control law.
Osborne says the city recently hired a solid waste disposal fund director to prevent future violations.
“We can’t afford to make those kinds of costly mistakes or overlook those things,” Osborne said.
He said the city is working to address the issues with stormwater monitoring.
“Not only are we trying to avoid any kind of problem with DEQ, it’s also the right thing to do for the citizens, so we’re working on it as quickly as we can,” Osborne said.
He also said the landfill will soon have adequate cover and temperature monitoring systems installed.
“We’re in unchartered territory, but we’re doing our best to relief the smell as much as we can,” Osborne said.
In the lawsuit filed by the City of Bristol, Tennessee against Bristol, Virginia over the landfill, the deadline to have the cover installed was extended by a judge to Oct. 10.