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Bristol councils to mull different landfill actions

Bristol councils to mull different landfill actions

BHC 102620212021 Bristol VA Landfill

A photo at the Bristol, Virginia landfill shows the present liner wall from this past summer. The landfill has used clay to cover much of the surface to help mitigate odors.

BRISTOL, Va. — The Twin City’s two city councils have different agendas when they meet today, but both will focus on the odor problems at the Bristol, Virginia landfill.

At 11 a.m., the Bristol Tennessee City Council will meet for the first time to publicly discuss any potential action it might take regarding the controversial Bristol, Virginia landfill.

This evening, their Bristol, Virginia counterparts will hold a regular meeting that includes approving the next phase of work at the Shakesville Road facility, which has been the subject of widespread public concern due to offensive odors.

Last week, Bristol Tennessee City Manager Bill Sorah issued a memo for the called meeting that states: “The purpose of the called meeting is to discuss and take action as appropriate regarding the ill effects experienced by Bristol Tennessee citizens as a result of the operation of the Bristol Virginia landfill.”

Earlier this month, Bristol, Tennessee leaders voted to retain the Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP law firm to “provide legal advice, retain necessary experts, develop strategies and represent the city in any proceedings that might arise as a result of the operation of the landfill,” according to a resolution.

Bristol Virginia City Manager Randy Eads issued a statement Sunday saying he spoke with Bristol, Tennessee attorney Andrea Wortzel, who advised him that the city of Bristol, Tennessee “would just like to have a conversation with Bristol, Virginia.”

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In the statement, Eads noted there have been conversations between the two cities and that Bristol Tennessee City Council members and Sorah have regularly attended and spoken during public meetings regarding the landfill.

“The city of Bristol, Virginia has discussed the landfill issues since January 2021 in council meetings, with the media, privately with concerned citizens and at city sponsored meetings prior to council meetings. Bristol, Virginia has never denied a discussion with any person who wants information about the landfill,” Eads wrote in the statement. “The city of Bristol Virginia welcomes the opportunity to discuss the landfill, in detail, with members of the Bristol Tennessee City Council if they so desire. Otherwise, we will be prepared for any litigation that arises with Bristol Tennessee.”

Bristol, Tennessee’s meeting will occur in the conference room of the Easley municipal annex.

Bristol Virginia City Council convenes a regular bimonthly meeting at 6 p.m., which includes a vote to award a contract to SCS Field Services for the next phase of the landfill gas project, which includes connecting new gas wells recently drilled at the landfill and installation of 21 pumps to remove water.

“This part is just now getting approved because the gas collection system for the new wells had to be designed, and that design was not complete until the end of September,” Eads said Monday. “The final deadline was Oct. 18 because we had to make a design amendment.”

Earlier this month, a Louisiana firm completed drilling 21 new gas wells as part of a city effort to reduce landfill gas emissions and the related odors. The next phase includes installation and connection of piping to link all of the new wells to the existing gas collection system.

The collection project was advertised Oct. 1, and four firms submitted bids. SCS Services was the low bidder at just over $334,000, a city memo states. The contract calls for the work to be completed within 50 days, which falls within the previously discussed mid- to late December timeline.

To date, the city has committed spending $1.9 million to address landfill issues, including $140,000 in January to eliminate water and make initial repairs to its gas system. In August, the council approved spending nearly $1.5 million more, including $309,000 to drill the new wells and $1.1 million to hire additional landfill staffing, acquire an odor mitigation system and lease additional equipment. | 276-645-2532 | Twitter: @DMcGeeBHC

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