Burlingtonians who are growing weary of schlepping their trash outside city limits may have to abide a bit longer: Operators of the Pine Street drop-off center don't know when it will reopen.
The Chittenden Solid Waste District closed the Burlington facility and four other drop-off centers in March after staffers were potentially exposed to the coronavirus. All of the centers — except Burlington's and Richmond's — have since reopened, with physical distancing protocols.
Located across from Citizen Cider, Burlington's facility is one of CSWD's smaller centers, which makes social distancing more difficult, spokesperson Alise Certa said. Customers have to get out of their vehicles to dump their waste.
"We have people getting in and out of their cars, going to the same container, and it's a very tight footprint," Certa said, adding that the popular spot draws more than 750 visitors a week.
"It's a challenge," she said.
If the Burlington center admitted fewer people, traffic would likely back up onto Pine Street at busy times — such as Saturdays, when the Burlington Farmers Market is in full swing next door, Certa said. Parking was already a challenge pre-COVID, she added.
CSWD has been meeting with Burlington public works officials to come up with a solution. Certa said this could include limiting the types of materials that patrons can drop off. "I think every [option is] being looked at at this point," she said.
For now, CSWD suggests that Burlington customers visit the South Burlington facility at 87 Landfill Road. That drop-off is 3.5 miles from Burlington's and is open Monday, Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There are other drop-offs in Williston, Hinesburg, Essex and Milton.
"The frustration, we sympathize with it, and we're doing the best we can," Certa said. "We appreciate everyone's patience."