BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – The Bristol, Virginia City Council has plans for green energy at a site that has caused the city no shortage of headaches – the Bristol, Virginia Landfill.
According to Bristol, Virginia Mayor Neal Osbourne, the city council voted unanimously at its Oct. 10 meeting to allow the city manager to sign an application for a grant for a solar power project. The Virginia Brownfields grant would award the city $500,000 “for remediation at the landfill” if awarded, Osbourne said.
Osbourne told News Channel 11 the council is still in the early stages of ironing out the full scope and size of the solar farm. However, once all the landfill remediation projects are done, Osbourne said the process will continue with more details being worked out.
“The long-term goal for this will be to have a program where the city puts power back into the grid and, rather than the city reaping the financial benefits, we would pass that on to lower-income families who may struggle with their utility bills,” Osbourne told News Channel 11 via email. “This will be a big deal for our city, allowing us to turn otherwise unusable land into a source of sustainable green energy.”
The resolution authorizing the signing of the grant states the city council heard from Bristol, Virginia City Manager Randall Eads before voting Oct. 10. Eads spoke of the past three years, during which the costs of hiring contractors, engineers, consultants and other professionals to safely close the landfill has come at an “enormous expense” and still continue.
“Looking forward, the City anticipates using the closed landfill properties to support solar energy,” the resolution states. “The City intends to improve community prosperity by providing, not only sustainable green energy but also reduced energy bills through a residential-serving community solar project. Reduced energy costs will benefit many of the City’s economically disadvantaged individuals and families while transforming otherwise undevelopable land into a source of sustainable and green energy.”
The landfill stopped accepting waste in September 2022, but efforts have continued to mitigate the smell and complete its closure.
The landfill and its accompanying odor were the source of a series of court battles for the city, including a lawsuit filed by the Virginia Attorney General and the City of Bristol, Tennessee, both of which have been settled.