Cedar Ridge Landfill expansion denied

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced today its final decision to proceed with denial of the proposed expansion of Cedar Ridge Landfill by Waste Management, Inc.

"The major concern is that groundwater would not be protected," TDEC said. "Waste Management has failed to demonstrate that the geologic formation of the proposed expansion area and the design of the facility are capable of containing the disposed wastes."

Speaking on a condition of anonymity, a company official said it would appeal the decision to the state Solid Waste Control Board, a move predicted by TDEC Commissioner Jim Fyke in conversation with Marshall County leaders on Friday morning at Henry Horton State Park.

"In my opinion, regardless of how we decide, it will be appealed to the Solid Waste Control Board," Fyke said. "It's not going to stop with us."

And regardless of whether the board approves or denies expansion, Fyke said the issue would "possibly" go to a civil court to resolve the question. "I would not be surprised if it went to the courts."

Citizens have recourse, he said, noting that recently TDEC was criticized for being an agent of business and then in the press elsewhere as being soft on business. The commissioner concluded with a grin that maybe the department was doing its job.

TDEC's decision to deny the permit was sent by Solid Waste Management Division Director Mike Apple, the man who conducted a public hearing in Lewisburg Middle School 2008. This issue has been of concern to Marshall County residents and others in Middle Tennessee since the landfill has had customers in Bedford County, the City of Franklin, Chapel Hill, Cornersville, and other local governments and residents.

Meanwhile, Marshall County's Solid Waste Committee has a resolution prepared for the commission to impose an annual $160 solid waste fee. It's to pay for collection and transportation of trash to another landfill, probably north of Murfreesboro.

Fyke's discussion indicated he didn't believe the landfill would stop accepting trash for burial any time soon.

That depends on how much space is left, how quickly deliveries are accepted, and what Waste Management wants to do.

"As I understand it," Fyke said, "there's upwards of one year left in the existing facility."

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