Jeremy Jernigan is Rutherford County’s new expert on Middle Point Landfill.
Republic Services said it appointed Jernigan as general manager at Middle Point this summer. The company runs the landfill and provides curbside garbage collection and some residential recycling.
Middle Point is a separate facility from the older, county-operated Rutherford County Landfill, which is behind Middle Point, Jernigan said. Middle Point opened in 1988 and has provided free dumping for Murfreesboro and Rutherford County since 1995, Republic said in a press release.
Jernigan sat down with the Murfreesboro Post to talk about Republic and Middle Point. The Manchester native spent the first 19 years of his career working at Middle Point and other nearby sites, according to a Republic press release. He worked his way up the ranks from washing trucks to driving collection trucks to serving as operations manager for Republic’s Murfreesboro hauling facility.
The future post-Middle Point is not known, he said, but he is focused on continuing operations at Middle Point until it does close. He hired a new operations supervisor and a new operations manager to help run Republic’s diverse services.
Jernigan said the other part of his job is to serve as Republic’s public face to the community and to get involved in Rutherford County life.
“Republic has always been part of the county,” he said, adding it has contributed through the donation of land to the Rutherford County Fire Department and RC Flyers, and has been involved with United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties and more. “But there’s never been a ‘face.’ ”
Republic estimates the landfill has eight to nine years left based on current volumes, he said. That is the report they are making to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
Even as Republic and the Rutherford County government look beyond the future of Middle Point being able to accept solid waste, Jernigan said the company is not going anywhere after it closes because it will still manage the site into the future.
Plus, for now, Middle Point provides an estimated economic impact of $7 million annually, he said, and employs nearly 200 workers. Republic has invested in Middle Point to address odor problems, he said, and there will be more to do over time.
“I have spent half of my adult life at or around Middle Point,” Jernigan said in a press release. “This is a homecoming for me, and I am truly proud to join a team that’s dedicated to this community and unwavering in its commitment to responsible operations.”
Republic Services’ 2018 annual report says the company owns or operates 190 active landfills.
As of December 31, 2018, the company had 37,800 permitted acres and total available permitted and probable expansion disposal capacity of approximately 5 billion in-place cubic yards. Republic also has responsibility for 129 closed landfills and owns or operates 91 recycling processing centers.