Salisbury aims to close its town dump by early 2017

SALISBURY — Salisbury’s unlined landfill could cease accepting trash by the end of this year.
The local selectboard is preparing to close the community landfill in the aftermath of a Town Meeting Day referendum that saw Salisbury residents vote 229 to 98 to shut down the facility.
In the meantime, Salisbury will pursue membership with the Addison County Solid Waste Management District, which coordinates the solid waste and recycling needs for the vast majority of towns in the county.
“I don’t know of anyone on the (select) board that’s against closing the landfill,” said Tom Scanlon, vice chairman of the panel and its liaison for landfill issues.
Salisbury currently operates the last unlined landfill in the state. The facility ran a deficit of around $31,000 last year, Scanlon noted.
“How can we continue to operate at a net loss and maintain a closure fund?” Scanlon said.
While having a local landfill has been convenient for Salisbury residents, it could become an increasing liability, some town officials believe. The state’s solid waste management rules are getting more rigorous — and therefore more costly to obey. Testing requirements are also becoming more involved, and Salisbury must bear the financial burden of offering household hazardous waste collection days and educational outreach on waste disposal issues. Scanlon reasoned that Salisbury could instead receive these services as a member of the county solid waste management district, which also operates a transfer station in Middlebury that offers a myriad of solid waste and recycling programs.
“It makes so much more sense — and there is no longer a fee to join the district,” Scanlon said.
Salisbury already has in hand the estimated $600,000 it will take to close the landfill, and an additional $200,000 for post-closure monitoring, according to Scanlon. The community will need to pick a vendor to operate a mini-transfer station — preferably at the landfill property — to collect household trash and recyclables from Salisbury residents. That’s what Bristol did last August when it closed its town dump — the second-to-last unlined landfill in Vermont.
If things go according to plan, Scanlon believes the Salisbury landfill could stop receiving trash by the end of this year, with capping of the facility in 2017.
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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