Landfill appeals; city hires Allied

Friday, April 16, 2010

To nobody's surprise, Waste Management has announced that it will appeal the state's refusal to permit expansion of Cedar Ridge Landfill, the company said a day after Lewisburg hired another company to haul its trash.

Allied Waste, one of Waste Management's competitors and the company that runs Middle Point Sanitary Landfill north of Murfreesboro, was awarded a $507,600 contract on Tuesday by Lewisburg's City Council for collection and disposal of city residents' waste.

City residents' cost for weekly collection won't change. The service is being privatized as some city employees are retiring while others are being reassigned. City crews will continue to collect recyclable materials once a week.

These developments in the long-running melodrama here reflect the unsettled nature of the situation. State and local officials anticipate that an appeal to the Tennessee Solid Waste Disposal Control Board will eventually be resolved in the court system. Without an answer and limited space left at Cedar Ridge, local leaders feel obliged to act.

"Lewisburg has acted and has a plan to take care of our problem, anticipating that the landfill wouldn't receive permission for the expansion," Lewisburg Mayor Barbara Woods said. "But it's still regrettable that the county will bear additional costs and, of course, the industries will too, those that have been using the landfill. Their costs will change."

On behalf of Commissioner Jim Fyke at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), Solid Waste Division Director Robert Apple told Waste Management's Charles Gillian on Tuesday that a tentative decision issued in December had been made final.

"TDEC's decision to deny an expansion application for Cedar Ridge Landfill is not environmentally justified and negatively impacts one of Marshall County's largest economic contributors during a time of local need," Waste Management spokeswoman Terri Douglas said Thursday.

"Cedar Ridge Landfill strongly believes its proposed expansion application is technically sound and contains the necessary components and engineering standards to be protective of the environment while providing a needed and necessary service to the citizens of Marshall County," Douglas said.

The state justified its denial of an expansion permit by citing Cedar Ridge's violations of landfill operating standards to protect the environment. In its response to comments from the public, including one saying there are few other alternatives, the state said there are alternatives in Giles, Lincoln and Bedford counties.

Gerry Burke, Tennessee area municipal services manager for Republic Services, the parent company for Allied Waste, was at Lewisburg's council meeting Tuesday night saying that the company wants to become an active participant in the community and offered to make trash bins available for various civic events.

Every household in Lewisburg is to receive a 95-gallon trash cart that will be lifted by a pneumatic arm on an Allied Waste garbage truck to dump trash into the truck's bin.

"It would be a business proposition, not a city service," the mayor said. However, the city will still collect trash collection fees on city utility bills and pay Allied, instead of running its own trucks.

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