First comments support closure of Cedar Ridge

Friday, January 22, 2010

Among the first five responses to the state's call for comments on whether Cedar Ridge Landfill should be expanded is a couple willing to pay the county's proposed $160 solid waste disposal fee.

"It is a price we are willing to pay to stop expansion of Cedar Ridge Landfill," Ron and Judi Grennier wrote on Jan. 12 to Mike Apple, director of solid waste management for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

The Grenniers of Globe Road have water wells for irrigation and drinking water. They were "ecstatic to hear" that TDEC Commissioner Jim Fyke decided against issuing a draft permit for expansion of the landfill run by Waste Management Inc.

Fyke could make his decision final within 30 days of the Feb. 8 deadline to send comments to Apple at his office on the 5th Floor of the L&C Tower, 401 Church St., Nashville, Tenn. 37243-1535.

In neighboring Maury County, the second of two counties with members on a Regional Solid Waste Board with Marshall County, county commissioners this week authorized their mayor, Jim Bailey, to write to Apple asking that the landfill be permitted to expand, according to the Daily Herald of Columbia.

Meanwhile, Dennis Helmick wrote to Apple on Jan. 5 opposing expansion of the landfill.

"I may have at one time considered using air and water from a sinkhole on my property," Helmick said of the idea to use "clean, green cooling and possible new technology and products that create jobs and energy savings.

"Now," he said, "there is little doubt that what I would find at the bottom would be landfill leakage."

Waste Management pays a host fee to Marshall County on a per-ton basis for operations at the landfill and half of those fees pay for convenience center operations. The other half funds the county Solid Waste Department.

"The county is building the landfill as its foundation of income," Helmick," told Apple. "This foundation of garbage will not stand..."

While one respondent simply sent an e-mail asking Apple to persuade Fyke to finalize his decision against permitting expansion of the landfill, one couple sent similar letters. Both advocate denial of expansion based on environmental reasons.

The landfill is on caves and porous rock and it has polluted water, Darlene Hill of Powell Lane said. That's been documented since 1999 and the company hasn't done anything about it unless concerned citizens bring it to officials' attention.

"Why would you approve ... an expansion when a sinkhole is known to be within the 11 acres?" Hill asked, referring to what's been dubbed "Cell 7," the area proposed for expansion of the landfill.

Jimmy Hill, also of Powell Lane, told Apple, "Sinkholes and caves in this area do not make it a good choice for a landfill."

Waste Management acquired Cedar Ridge when the corporation bought out the business that had been operating the landfill. Before that, it was established by a Marshall County businessman.