Trash could go to Murfreesboro

Friday, May 1, 2009

If and when Cedar Ridge Landfill is closed, Middle Point Landfill at Walter Hill north of Murfreesboro is a possible destination for Marshall County residents' trash, according to a report delivered to county commissioners Monday night.

That scenario was outlined by Bill Griggs, a partner in the Murfreesboro-based engineering firm of Griggs & Maloney which was hired by Marshall County to research and report the alternatives here depending on what Waste Management Inc. might do in response to a permit decision by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

Meanwhile, TDEC spokeswoman Meg Lockhart says department officials continue their technical review of the company's request for a permit to expand operations on the property that the company bought years ago from another landfill business.

County Solid Waste Director Morgan Thomas concurs.

"From everything I've heard; sometime this summer there will be a public hearing then there will be a decision" by the department, Thomas said Wednesday. "Unless something comes from the hearing the would cause them to re-examine something, then they'll make a decision pretty quickly after the hearing."

On Monday, Griggs told commissioners "If they (Waste Management) get the permit, they'll probably close in a year. It its approved, it's considered to be seven to eight more years" for the landfill's operations.

Unless some other option arises for Waste Management's Cedar Ridge Landfill just west of Lewisburg, local trash collections will eventually have to be hauled elsewhere and so Griggs made calculations with figures on population, the amount of trash generated and hauling costs.

On average, each resident of the county generates .69 tons of garbage each year, or about .38 pounds a day which is lower than the national average of .5- to .55 pounds per day, Griggs said, attributing the county's lower rate to recycling.

Griggs also calculated a distance beyond which it's more cost effective to build a trash transfer station, instead of hauling trash directly to a place where it could be deposited. That distance is 29 miles - the one-way distance for hauling trash from a central place in Marshall County to a destination for dumping.

Four nearby landfills were mentioned by Griggs to the commissioners.

The two with the lowest costs for the county are in Alabama. Comparable costs are $51.22 and $58.10 per ton at those two landfills, but they're not available to Marshall County because it's not in those jurisdictions' solid waste management plan.

That leaves two landfills: One is the Waste Management landfill in Camden, Tenn., where Griggs says the hauling costs would be $73 per ton, and; Middle Point Landfill in Rutherford County where the cost is $69 per ton.

Both landfills are more than 29 miles away, so the prospect of building a transfer station appears more likely, according to Griggs' presentation.

Transfer stations cost approximately $1.5 million, he said.

"If you go to another landfill, take bids to see if they will haul it for you," Griggs said. "And there are other transfer stations. One is in Columbia.," he said, again recommending bids on services related to use of transfer stations.

"If the landfill is going to close this year, you need to advertise now to get prices," he said.