Reactions to expansion vary

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Two very different reactions were heard last week when Marshall County's Solid Waste Committee was told Cedar Ridge Landfill might re-open because the state and the landfill's owners are negotiating a settlement over expansion of the facility west of Lewisburg.

"We're optimistic," commented County Commissioner Anna Chlidress, chairman of the commission's Solid Waste Committee that met a week ago today when Solid Waste Director Morgan Thomas explained a settlement approved by the state Solid Waste Disposal Control Board would probably allow reopening and expansion at Cedar Ridge.

Waste Management Inc. suspended operations at the landfill several months ago because it was getting close to being full. If filled to capacity as governed by permits issued years ago, then the landfill must start implementing a closure plan and challenges to a state decision against issuing an expansion permit would be wasted. It was Jim Fyke, the commissioner of environment and conservation during Gov. Phil Bredesen's administration that denied the expansion permit.

"It's politics," reacted Nancy McCullough, a long-time observer of the on-going landfill issue in Marshall County.

At the crux of the prospective agreed order are monitoring wells that could show the landfill is preventing liquids in garbage from seeping out of the landfill and polluting groundwater.

If wells can't be located for monitoring the environment, then two liners would be required, according to a memorandum of Understanding between Cedar Ridge and the Tennessee department of Environment and Conservation, TDEC.

"Whatever it takes," McCullough replied when asked about the prospective requirement that two liners would be required.

Landfill liners are made of thick, man-made materials. They might be compared to an impervious blanket laid across the area where alternating layers of dirt and garbage are deposited.

Also attending the county meeting last week was Darlene Hill, another close observer of the landfill issue. She declined to comment, apparently because she'd just become aware of the recent development.

Two other matters of note arose during the committee meeting in the Solid Waste Office at the Hardison Office Annex:

* The committee unanimously voted to recommend that county commissioners ask TDEC to consider establishing a recycling hub project in Marshall County.

If a recycling hub were established here, the county would provide land and install a sorting and baler for recyclables, Thomas said.

A hub would benefit the county because it would be a collection point for recyclable materials for several counties in the area, and Marshall County would benefit from the sale of the materials. Other counties would bring their collections to the hub.

"It's to be a revenue stream for us," Thomas said, noting that a location had been considered south of Jackson and in the general vicinity of Memphis.

Commissioner Mike Waggoner seconded Commissioner Phil Willis's motion to recommend the resolution for a hub to the county commission that's to meet on Monday June 27.

The hub is also to lower disposal costs for household garbage and create jobs, according to the resolution.

* Committeemen also voted to increase the cost of the tire recycling fee.

A state grant for the program has been decreased to $19,600. Costs are greater than the grant.

A fuel surcharge for transporting tires continues to increase and county officials want to keep the program as a self-sustaining operation.

Tire disposal fees have been 50 cents per tire regardless of the type of tire. If approved by the commission, the fee would be: $1 per tire for passenger and light truck tires; $5 per tire for heavy truck, tractor and implement tires; and $2 per tire for passenger light trucks. Residents discarding one or two tires per year would not have to pay a fee.

County commissioners meet at 6 p.m. Monday.