Click above to learn more about our document library and air monitoring projects.
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 a quarry landfill operated by the City of Bristol, Virginia. These noxious gases and other chemical emissions significantly disrupt the lives of residents on both sides of the state line. Over the past 2 years landfill emissions have intensified, adversely impacting the health and well-being of residents over roughly 60 square miles.
Quarry landfills, such as Bristol VA Landfill #SWP588, are notoriously problematic and are no longer a preferred landfill design. The Bristol Virginia Landfill has experienced elevated temperatures, suggesting a subsurface smoldering or heating event. Also, the bottom of the landfill sits below the groundwater table and has challenges with liquids removal. Wastewater pumped from inside and below the landfill is high in benzene, and residents are concerned that this hazardous chemical could contaminate groundwater. The landfill liner appears to be compromised along the sidewalls in several locations, where landfill gases can be seen venting like smoke between the liner and quarry walls.
Some progress has been made in response to residents raising their voices and rallying together for help. In early 2022, Virginia DEQ organized a multidisciplinary engineering team to recommend solutions to keep the landfill gases out of our community’s air. This “Expert Panel” produced a report with ten key steps for Bristol VA to follow. Additionally, the City of Bristol TN has utilized the legal system to encourage a timely implementation of the Expert Panel recommendations at the Bristol VA Landfill. Work has begun on several of these key steps, but we are still very far from relief. In the meantime, the landfill gases continue to invade our community’s air, and residents are still suffering as a result.
HOPE for Bristol’s role in sharing information about the landfill’s problems with our community has been pivotal. Residents want to know what is happening — in terms that everyone can understand. We’ve worked hard to provide updates to our community, to share public records and explain their meaning, and to ask important questions of the agencies and government officials who are making the decisions that affect us all.
We ask you to join us in advocating for help for our community. We hope our website will help you to use your voice for the good of everyone in Bristol. Please click around our website for more instructions on how to report landfill emissions (our “Speak Up” page), information about our organization, details about Special Events, and more. We hope to see you at one of our events in the Bristol area soon!
Finally, we would be grateful for your financial support of our work. Everyone here at HOPE for Bristol donates their time on an entirely volunteer basis. Every project, including our website, is for the good of our community. Donations are conveniently accepted through our website or by mail.