Bristol is the twin city that spans the state line of Tennessee and Virginia. For the past several years, Bristol residents have complained to city officials about foul odors coming from the landfill operated by the city of Bristol, VA. These noxious gases and other emissions significantly disrupt the lives of residents on both sides of the state line. Over the past 18 months landfill emissions have intensified, severely impacting the health and well- being of residents over roughly 60 square miles.
Quarry landfills are notoriously problematic and are no longer a preferred landfill design. The Bristol, Virginia landfill is purportedly one of only three rock quarry landfills still operating in the United States. Although the City of Bristol Virginia spent much of 2021 repairing broken infrastructure and adding additional gas wells, serious landfill emissions persist. Other quarry landfills with similar issues have required intense and expensive interventions, and ultimately closure.
Temperatures in parts of the Bristol Virginia landfill are hotter than normal, suggesting a possible subsurface smoldering or heating event. The bottom of the landfill sits below the groundwater table and appears to have challenges with adequate liquids drainage. Wastewater pumped from inside and below the landfill is high in benzene, and residents are increasingly concerned that this toxic chemical could contaminate groundwater. The liner appears to be compromised along the sidewalls in several locations, where visible emissions have been observed outside the liner.
Bristol VA has made efforts to improve gas collection, but conditions for residents continue to worsen. Many residents believe this is already a health and environmental disaster. We want this landfill closed before it can do more harm to our community. We ask you to join us in advocating for help for our community from both public and private sectors. Please click around our website for more instructions on how to report landfill emissions, information about our organization, media coverage of our community, documents created by HOPE for Bristol, public records, and more. We hope to see you at one of our events in the Bristol area soon!