After a two-year delay, an era ended last month as town officials closed the last municipally owned landfill in Rhode Island. The Tiverton Landfill, a leftover from a time when towns owned and operated their own dumps, was originally supposed to be closed and capped starting in November 2020, but the town received an extension from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM). Town officials cited the then-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the recent opening of Bally’s Tiverton Casino as prime reasons behind the extensions.
The town opened a temporary recycling facility in December on Progress Road to help sort recyclable materials before they are shipped to the materials recycling facility at the Central Landfill in Johnston. Tiverton had already been sending its recycling material to the Central Landfill in Johnston for several years, but its transfer station closed with the town landfill.
The increased costs of waste disposal after the landfill’s closure remain unclear; Tiverton will end up paying for the transportation of the waste and the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation’s municipal tipping fees, but there’s little available data on how much waste the town’s 7,000 households that receive curbside pickup produce. “Those two costs combined are anticipated to be more than what it cost to run our current one,” said Richard Rogers, director of Tiverton Public Works.