Woods taps Carden for Planning Commission

Friday, November 6, 2009

A mountain of information on landfill expansion plans was delivered by Cedar Ridge Landfill leaders to the state's solid waste management director about the time the director met last month with officials here saying he'd have a decision early this month.

That's according to the spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation who's acknowledged the waste management director probably won't have a decision early next week. Expansion of Cedar Ridge Landfill has been a goal for Waste Management Inc. for more than two years.

The company is running out of space for trash at Cedar Ridge where dumping is permitted. As a result, the company wants another permit so it may use nearly 11 acres where trash hasn't been buried.

Without an answer on whether the landfill may expand or not, Marshall County officials have developed plans on what to do if the landfill fills up and must be closed. That includes the prospect of a $160 per year fee for households in Marshal County beyond the jurisdiction of the municipalities. The fee is to be a topic for the County Commission meeting on Nov. 23.

"Waste Management has asked to expand the Cedar Ridge Landfill with a portion of the expansion in the area of a sinkhole," TDEC spokeswoman Meg Lockhart said summarizing the reason for the company's mountain of information.

"The Division of Solid Waste Management requested and received additional information from Waste Management concerning the geology of the site" planned for expansion of Cedar Ridge Landfill, Lockhart said.

"The information was in four three-ring binders," Lockhart said. "They are substantial in size. However, the reason they are so large is that the binders contain detailed geologic maps and data gathered from the subsurface investigation."

That's during a geologist's examination of soil and rocks' physical characteristics.

"It's not unusual with this type of data and detailed information," the department spokeswoman said after conferring Thursday morning with Mike Apple, director of TDEC's Division of Solid Waste Management.

To keep area officials aware of TDEC's progress toward approving or denying the permit, two meetings were held last month.

"The Oct. 12 meeting was held in [TDEC's] central office in Nashville," Lockhart said. "It included representatives from Chapel Hill, Maury County, Marshall County and ... Lewisburg ... at their request. The following day, on Oct. 13, Mike Apple traveled to Marshall County to meet with several individuals there," including Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett."

Lockhart concludes that landfill leaders delivered their package to Apple's office during the Oct. 13 meeting.

Marshall County Solid Waste Director Morgan Thomas has reported he attended the Oct. 13 meeting including Liggett, County Solid Waste Committee Chairman Don Ledford, Cornersville Mayor Amos Davis, Lewisburg Mayor Barbara Woods, Apple and two of his associates from TDEC.

"It would be nice if TDEC made its decision before that meeting" of the County Commission on Nov. 23, Commission Chairman Billy Spivey said Wednesday evening.

"If the decision is in that window of time, it's still possible" to consider the solid waste fee resolution on that fourth Monday night of the month, he said.

One of the alternatives would be for TDEC to have decided to support the expansion request. That would make the $160 annual fee unnecessary.

A statement from Waste Management spokeswoman Terri Douglas at mid-day Thursday says: "Cedar Ridge Landfill continues to work with TDEC and respond to questions and requests posed by TDEC.

"TDEC had asked for a compilation of previously submitted information about the site for its ease of reference..." Douglas said. "The binders respond to that request.

"Timing for final review of the expansion request will be determined by TDEC."