I would like to thank Mr. Watson, editor of the Herald Courier for his article on Wednesday, October 21. He sums up the city landfill problem well when he writes: “It’s ordinary people who are just trying to live their lives who… are the real victims here. I am one of those who suffers from what we commonly call “The Beast” – the harmful gases from the Bristol Quarry Landfill in Virginia.
For those who have not experienced gas, I know this is all hard to imagine. Residents of Fairmount, Kingstown, Booher Road and a growing number of Bristol neighborhoods are subjected to this horror every night. I know families with small children who had to flee in the middle of the night because they had difficulty breathing as their eyes, skin and throat burned from chemicals in the air. Many others could not afford to flee, so they had to suffer and take shelter in place. This humanitarian crisis forces me to advocate for the closure of the landfill.
The arguments for the closure even go beyond the current human impact. For starters, the design of the landfill is fundamentally flawed. Simply put, the landfill is located in an abandoned rock quarry that collects a lot of water, much like a bowl. Water plus garbage equals huge volumes of gas. Unfortunately, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to keep water out of this quarry landfill. In fact, quarry landfills, for the most part, are disasters waiting to happen. Blair County, PA (Superfund NPL site), Bridgeton, Missouri (Superfund NPL site), Montgomery County, PA (former Superfund NPL site) and Walles Quarry landfill in the UK are just a few of a long list of such disasters. All of these quarry landfills share this water retention problem.