The landfill began operation in 1969 and received commercial, residential, and industrial solid and liquid wastes. The Town of Bennington leased the property for use as a landfill until 1985, when it purchased the property. In April 1987, the landfill was closed and the Town established a transfer station adjacent to the location of the landfill.
Throughout the entire period of operation (1969-1987) residential, industrial, and commercial waste was disposed in the landfill. One portion of the landfill was used for the disposal of liquid wastes from 1969-1975. This area, known as the “lagoon”, was covered with debris and is within the limits of the current solid waste mass. A drainage system was constructed within the landfill in 1976 to lower the groundwater level in the waste. The outlet for this drainage system was a pipe whose discharge was responsible for the creation of the drainage pond.
The Town of Bennington performed a solid waste closure of the landfill in 1990 in accordance with the Vermont Solid Waste Program. Collection of the underdrain discharge was not included in the solid waste closure.
The surficial sand and gravel aquifer has been impacted by the landfill. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), volatile organic compounds (including vinyl chloride, chloroethane, 1,1 dichloroethene, 1,2 dichloroethene, 1,1,1 trichloroethane, trichloroethene, methylene chloride, and benzene) and several metals (arsenic, barium, and manganese) have been detected at elevated levels. Elevated levels of PCBs were also found in the soil and sediment of a small area of standing water near the outlet to the discharge from the drainage pipe.
The contamination of the surficial sand and gravel aquifer extends from under the landfill to area east of the landfill where the groundwater recharges into a wetland that serves as the headwaters for Hewitt Brook. Elevated levels of contaminants were detected in wells abutting the landfill and drop significantly within several hundred feet from the landfill. There is an increase in arsenic with distance from the landfill that is likely a result of the mobilization of arsenic from the natural soil materials due to the reducing environment created by the presence of landfill leachate. Very low levels volatile organic compounds were detected in the bedrock aquifer adjacent to the landfill. High levels of PCBs were found in the soil and sediment adjacent to the discharge from the underdrain discharge pipe. Some of the PCBs migrated into the sediments of the wetland and Hewitt Brook.