Will election offer opportunity? Bedford landfill to be closed

Friday, May 21, 2010

With at least a third to possibly more than half of the Marshall County Commission changing in September because of the Aug. 5 election, a top leader with Waste Management has realized at least the prospect of such change could lead to an opportunity for a different expansion of Cedar Ridge Landfill.

Meanwhile, Glenn Youngblood, area manager for Waste Management, has refuted concerns that the company might re-open Quail Hollow Landfill in south Bedford County and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's spokeswoman has confirmed that the company has requested approval of a new closure plan for Quail Hollow.

Quail Hollow and the Coble property, so-named because of the seller, were two of several alternatives listed by TDEC when it responded to comments on the requested expansion permit for Cedar Ridge. Several people told TDEC that if the landfill west of Lewisburg were closed, there'd be no other nearby place for trash disposal. TDEC cited several alternatives.

That response to comment is "maybe not accurate," Youngblood said.

The Coble property, on Old Columbia Highway on the backside of the landfill, isn't an option because Marshall County commissioners prohibit new landfills near churches, schools, parks and medical facilities, some of which are within a two-mile radius.

"That has eliminated the Coble property as a possibility ... unless they (commissioners) change the rules," Youngblood said in a recorded interview Wednesday.

TDEC wouldn't consider a request regarding the Coble property unless it was approved by local leaders, Youngblood said.

Still, he is "absolutely" interested in prospective changes on the county commission, Youngblood said. "We'd like to have the opportunity to go back and do that again."

Six commissioners aren't running for re-election. Others have been seen as in challenging races.

"We always thought that (the Coble property) was an opportunity" for landfill operations, Youngblood said. As for how such a reversal of the prohibition on landfill proximity could be changed, he said, "I don't know.

"It's a long way to August," he concluded.

Last week, Bedford County's Solid Waste Committee voted to draft a letter that might be sent to state officials about concerns that Quail Hollow might be reopened if Cedar Ridge is closed.

However, "Waste Management Inc. submitted a letter notifying us of their intention to close the Quail Hollow Landfill," TDEC spokeswoman Meg Lockhart said Thursday. "WMI is preparing a modified closure and maintenance plan, which they will submit to Solid Waste Management staff for review. A modified plan is necessary since the landfill has not used all of its original fill capacity."