Last municipal landfill in Rhode Island to close in coming months

The 33-acre Tiverton Landfill is expected to start its $12.5 million closure process by the end of November.

With a two-year extension period ending, the only municipally owned landfill in Rhode Island is gearing up to start its closure process by the end of November, reports The Herald News.

The Tiverton Landfill in Tiverton, Rhode Island, was originally slated to begin its closure and capping process in 2020; however, the town requested an extension, citing the ongoing pandemic and the opening of Bally’s Tiverton Casino as reasons for the delay.

As the landfill begins its closure process, the town of Tiverton will start sending municipal solid waste to the Central Landfill in Johnston—owned and operated by the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp.

Capping of the 33-acre Tiverton Landfill with soil will cost the town roughly $12.5 million and will take about a year and a half to complete. The town’s landfill closure fund is still about $2 million shy of that figure.

Tiverton has reportedly been contributing to this fund since 2014 when it first drafted its landfill closure plan. The town has mainly been using proceeds from the sales of authorized trash bags required as part of its pay-as-you-throw curbside waste collection service.

Town Administrator Christopher Cotta told The Herald News that Tiverton plans to continue using the pay-as-you-throw model for curbside collection “to chip away at the rest of the money needed to complete the landfill closure process.” An estimated 7,000 households in the town currently use the town’s curbside collection service.

“We’ve been blessed all these years with our landfill,” Public Works Director Rick Rogers told The Herald News. “We don’t know exactly how many tons we take in in a year. We estimate it but we don’t know. When you go to Johnston, they have a service there. They weigh everything, every truck that comes in, so they know how much you’re dumping.”

Looking toward the future of the Tiverton Landfill, Cotta says the town is looking into the possibility of installing a solar panel farm on the property.

“It’s not a project that we’re looking at going after immediately, but it may be something that when this process is over and done with, we would look at the amount of electricity generate here in town and generate a solar field that would offset the cost of that electricity and pay for itself over time so it’s a net-net for the town,” he says.

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