Landfills in Bristol and Salisbury undergoing changes

BRISTOL — On Feb. 10, a public meeting will be held in Bristol to discuss the town’s application to the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation for two variances concerning the operation of its Pine Street landfill.
According to Town Administrator Bill Bryant, the state has changed the way in which it interprets its regulations regarding the operations of municipal landfills. The new interpretation would require the town of Bristol to build enough money into the budget to cover closure fund obligations — an amount that nears $1 million, Bryant said.
At a Jan. 17 selectboard meeting, Bristol selectmen approved a landfill spending plan of $157,000, a far cry from the newly required $1 million.
“We do have to pay the lights and the employees and we can’t put 150 percent of proceeds toward closure,” Bryant said.
Instead, the town has chosen to apply for two different variances from the standard interpretation of the regulations regarding the operation of the landfill. This application will be put up for discussion at the Feb. 10 meeting at 5 p.m. in the town offices at Holley Hall.
The recently approved landfill budget reflects the efforts already made by town administrators to cut down costs.
“The town has been doing other things to make the landfill more financially viable,” said Bryant, who noted changes in the landfill’s hours.
The landfill will now close at 1 p.m. on Tuesdays during the winter, and at 3 p.m. on Saturdays year-round.
Salisbury, the only other town in Addison County to operate its own municipal landfill, will not be applying for any variances, despite the change in closure fee policy. According to the Salisbury selectboard chairwoman Jackie Devoid, the amount for the closure fee has already been built into the landfill budget.
“That’s already a part of the plan,” she said in an interview.
Additionally, the Salisbury landfill hours, she said, will remain unchanged. The landfill will be closed on Saturdays throughout the winter and will reopen for two days a week in the spring, as in the past.
Though the hours will remain unchanged for the time being, Devoid did note that the landfill will be going through a transitional period over the next few months. The Salisbury landfill, she noted, is currently between coordinators.
“There will be a change of leadership,” she said. “We’re reevaluating the whole thing right now, and we don’t have any specific plans at the moment.”
Though things are still in the works, Devoid anticipates a stricter policy that would cut down on rogue landfill users.
“We’re also going to be more vigilant about people who use the landfill and make sure that only Salisbury residents are using the recycling program. We’ll be making sure that the correct people are using the landfill in the correct way.”
Devoid hopes to have “a solid plan” in place for the landfill by the spring.
“We have temporary things in place,” she said. “There’s no rush. We have time to make those decisions.”
Tamara Hilmes is at [email protected].

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