Marshall County's Solid Waste Committee is mulling over information gathered Monday night from four Middle Tennessee engineering companies that want a contract to develop plans on what to do with area residents' trash.
Committee Chairman Don Ledford asked the panelists to return to the Courthouse Annex on Nov. 10 when they should rank their top three contenders for a contract that may be worth up to $34,500, but could affect everybody in the county forever.
The commissioners would appear to be motivated by the prospect of Cedar Ridge Landfill closing since Waste Management Inc. has asked the state to permit dumping on a part of Cedar Ridge where there's no license for disposal.
Regardless of any decision by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation on the landfill's size and therefore life expectancy, Ledford is approaching the prospect of a solid waste plan contract somewhat differently.
"Solid waste is an issue whether Waste Management is in the county or not," Ledford said after interviewing the engineers for more than two hours Monday night in the County Courthouse Annex. "There is a waste stream regardless.
"Waste Management is here and I believe the people of Marshall County do not want another landfill in the county, so that divides the challenge into two parts: a short term solution, and then; a long term solution," Ledford said while discussing the county need for a consultant to help it deal with trash disposal issues.
"I'm not sure I have the right time frame but the short term may be one to three years and the long term might be three- to 10- or 12 years," the Solid Waste Committee chairman said.
Expansion is currently an issue for the Lewisburg City Council because the city has adopted a state law granting that power. If the city denies the expansion, the county has to be ready in a short period of time before the landfill is closed. If the city decides Waste Management's expansion plan is suitable, then the question must be addressed by the state.
As a result, Ledford said, county commissioners are trying to be prepared for either development and they're trying to find out what kind of cooperation they'll have from other local governments in the area.
"It's not just a Marshall County problem or a Lewisburg problem or a Cornersville problem," Ledford said.
The landfill is part of the Maury County's solid waste plan and trash from many other jurisdictions is deposited at Cedar Ridge.
"To me," Ledford said, "that's where the consultant comes in to bring the entities and ideas together for the two time-frames."
The four consulting firms interviewed Monday are as follows, with the fees they would charge:
* Southern Consulting of of Dickson, Tenn., $15,885;
* CEC, also known as Civil & Environmental Consultants of Franklin, Tenn., $22,000;
* Littlejohn Engineering Associates of Nashville, $23,800, and;
* Griggs and Maloney Inc. of Murfreesboro, $34,000.
Commissioners, Ledford said, must also consider how recycling will be a part of the solution, so they've got to analyze the success of Lewisburg's curbside collection program, recycling at county schools and those prompted by civic clubs, and the recycling center in Lewisburg which was recently moved from Fifth Avenue North to behind Walgreen's pharmacy.
Engineering firms told the commissioners what they'd done in other jurisdictions and what they planned to do for Marshall County, Ledford said.
Transfer stations and incineration were topics of concern, he said.
Commissioner Mickey King said he'd selected three firms that could do the job, but he declined to name them publicly because he wanted to continue his analysis. He said he was pleased with the quality of the responses and felt that any one of them could do the job.
"I could go with any of the three that I ranked," King said, explaining that he's concluded there is close competition among the engineering firms vying for the county contract.
Other commissioners dealing with the applicants include Mary Ann Neill, Larry McKnight and Wilford "Spider" Wentzel.