Solid Waste — the problem, the future

The RNA is partnering with members of SOCM (Statewide Organization for Community eMpowerment), Recycle Rutherford, Stones River Watershed Association as well as interested community and MTSU folks to research and have a voice in the future of what will happen to our solid waste.
Your tax dollars will be impacted no matter what the solution, but do we look at short term solutions or aim for a smart solution that is sustainable for our growing county? 
Follow Stop The Superdump 

MAY 2023
The County Commission debate goes on as to when Middle Point Landfill will close and the county needing a solution with what to do with our garbage and how much it will cost each taxpayer.

​Some commissioners are willing to wait on building a transfer station because of the likely property tax increase. Bishop Wagener, the county Solid Waste Director, has warned the commission that if plans don’t start now, the county could be forced to sell remaining land to Republic for a place to put our trash. If that happens, Rutherford County residents will have to put up with trash from Davidson county in other counties for many, many years to come.

APRIL 25, 2022  Central TN Regional Solid Waste Planning Board PUBLIC HEARING.
The Board will listen to comments from the public, then discuss and vote on Resolution 22-003  

A Resolution to restrict access to any landfills and incinerators in the Central Tennessee Region which dispose of municipal solid waste by excluding waste originating with persons or entities outside of the Region.​
That meeting will be held at 6 PM on April 25, 2022 at the Warren County administrative building located at 103 Locust St., McMinnville Tennessee.

APRIL 4, 2022 Murfreesboro City Manager Craig Tindall Letter to County Mayor Bill KETRON.

The June 28th public hearing held by The Central Tennessee Solid Waste Planning Board listened and will vote on whether or not to approve Republic’s expansion request on July 9, 2021. It will then be forwarded to TDEC to make the final determination. One way or the other, lawsuits will likely follow.

Read the June 29, 2021 —> Daily News Journal coverage by reporter Scott Broden

Mike Linton Public Comment
I am speaking to you as the President of the Rutherford Neighborhood Alliance, a 501c4 organization of volunteers, that has, for almost twenty-five years, worked as a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to open and lawful government. 

For the last five years the Rutherford Neighborhood Alliance has been looking into the issue of our local land fill and the larger issue of trash management.  We have hosted meetings with representatives of state agencies, entrepreneurs dealing with strategies of trash management, and visited various trash management sites.

Our study has led our membership to strongly oppose expansion of the current landfill.
because it is a significant environmental and economic problem for Rutherford County that diminishes the quality of life of our county’s residents.

Here’s three reasons why

1–stench from the landfill frequently fills the air in the landfill’s immediate vicinity of Walter Hill, a stench that sometimes radiates to the area around the MTSU campus and Lascassas.
Besides being a nuisance, the stench certainly depreciates local property values. Furthermore, an ever-expanding regional trash site makes Rutherford County’s Chamber of Commerce’s program 
of “Destination Rutherford” increasingly problematic. 

2–a study done by graduate chemistry students at MTSU found the land fill leaching veterinary pharmaceuticals into the Stones River. The RNA has received reports of truck-loads of dead livestock repeatedly being hauled to the landfill and dumped. It’s possible that these carcasses might be the source of these pharmaceuticals. The health effect of these trace pharmaceuticals in our drinking water hasn’t been locally studied, but it’s unlikely to be beneficial. 

3–the landfill requires tens of thousands of tons of dirt to be dumped on the it, covering over each layer of fresh trash.  This dirt is frequently being stripped from neighboring land, land that was once productive farmland or forest–leaving behind shelves of rock. These rock shelves are a potential flooding problem, since they can not absorb and dissipate rain water in the way the former farm land and forest could. Further more, this stripping of the soil leaves this land now forever agriculturally unproductive; it never again can grow crops or raise livestock. So, not only is the landfill itself agriculturally useless, the areas abutting it are agricultural dead zones. 

(Parenthetically, regarding points two and three:  We are increasingly being confronted with the harsh realities regarding the fragility of two basics for our lives: water and food.  The landfill has a negative impact upon both.) 

To summarize: 
 The 1) landfill demeans the quality of life of citizens living in its vicinity and potentially makes the whole county less desirable to people seeking to relocate their families and businesses. 2) It potentially contributes to the ill-health and even morbidity of the people of Rutherford County 3) It is literally a “dead-zone” in our county. Negatively impact4ing the public health, diminishing the pleasure of life in our region, and expansion of a dead zone: there are not cost-effective solution to our waste management needs. Indeed, they are life threatening expenses. 

The members of the Rutherford Neighborhood Alliance urge a NO vote on the matter of Republic’s petition for expansion.  
​Thank you.

Julie Burns Public Comment
Hello, my name is Julie Burns, and I live near MTSU, outside the city limits. 

I want to thank this Board for offering the public an opportunity to comment on this proposed landfill expansion.  

Our city and county leaders are opposed to this request to expand Middle Point by 99 acres, and many, many citizens agree. We have been forced to smell it when we go outside our homes or drive through the area. Numerous people have reported that the odor has actually permeated their homes, even with closed doors and windows.  The City of Murfreesboro spent tens of thousands of dollars investigating the source of the smell, which was indeed determined to be the landfill.  I live 10 miles away, and frequently the nauseating odor reaches my house as well. This is not just an annoyance.  A recent Meharry Medical College research survey of area residents determined that there were significantly more cases of respiratory illnesses among people who lived nearest to the landfill.
The odor issue has increased as the size of the landfill increased.  The county’s contract with Republic Services was to end when the landfill became full, in approximately 6 years, according to the company. 

​Demanded by concerned citizens and endorsed by Mayor Ketron, the county government has begun a process of planning for a future that would use landfilling as a last resort.   We could contract with companies that provide recycling and composting of garbage instead of the short-sighted method of creating a mountain of trash on the banks of the same river where we obtain our drinking water. Our county could become a model of progressive waste handling, taking advantage of state-of-the-art technology to reduce what we bury by 80-90%.  This is referred to as a “zero waste” goal, and was recently adopted by Metro Nashville for their 10-year solid waste plan, providing their Solid Waste Board a reason to deny expansion of their current landfill.
Concerning Republic’s operating history here other than the odor issue, they have disregarded the Walter Hill community in particular — performing illegal blasting several years ago which damaged homes without compensating homeowners, not taking responsibility for trash-strewn roads leading to the dump, raping tens of acres of nearby land of soil to cover the trash, and, I assume, causing property values in the area to plummet. 

It is time for a change, not more of the same. If this landfill is expanded into a super-dump as proposed, it will be negatively impacting our quality of life and our environment for decades to come.  I hope this Board will recommend that TDEC deny the permit application.
Thank you.

Zero Waste Goal

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