The Murfreesboro City Council provided updates last Thursday about Republic Services’ consideration to withdraw its Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation application to expand the Middle Point Landfill.
Mayor Shane McFarland said he and Director of Water Resources Darren Gore had a meeting with TDEC to learn more about the process Republic would have to go through to have the expansion approved.
Director of the Division of Solid Waste Management Lisa Hughey told McFarland and Gore that the application process is broken up into two parts. The first part, which Republic has completed, will be met with a response from TDEC within 30 days.
Gore said the first part of the two-step application is “generic,” outlining what Republic would like to do in terms of nearly doubling the capacity of the landfill.
The second portion of the application process is what Gore referred to as “the tougher part.” Republic will have 12 months from the application filing date to submit an extensive hydrogeologic study that will be reviewed by TDEC. According to Hughey, it could take one to two years before a formal decision is made in favor or against the expansion.
Gore said Republic submitted a “knee-jerk” application, bypassing the Request for Proposal process because Waste Management applied for an expansion in Davidson County that was denied for inconsistency with the county’s solid waste plan.
Gore said the Central Region Solid Waste board does have the option to deny the request, but if TDEC Commissioner David Salyers deems the decision “arbitrary,” it can be overruled and taken to the chancery court.
McFarland said there was also a meeting with representatives from Republic at city hall on April 20 in addition to a conference call just before Thursday night’s meeting.
“I asked them to withdraw their application, and let us at least go through the process of the (Request for Proposal) that we’re talking about right now with the county, and they didn’t say, ‘No,’ ” said McFarland.
McFarland recommended that the council hold off on making any resolutions on the issue before it hears back from Republic about the application in the next week.
Councilman Bill Shacklett made the request that Republic be invited to come before the council to explain its decision if it decides not to withdraw the application.
“I think they agreed that they probably had not put their best foot forward for many years in the community, which was nice to hear,” said McFarland, who requested details on the gas extraction system and plans to deal with the odor issue that affects the northside of Murfreesboro.
McFarland emphasized that this is not the council “giving up.” The council would like to consider alternative options before creating a resolution.
Gore also reiterated the new solid waste ordinance revisions that will go into effect. The revision will allow a $5 per occurrence fee for loose lawn clippings left on the curb for pick up. The same will apply to unbagged leaves from Feb. 1 until the end of September. Bagged clippings and leaves will not be charged.
The ordinance will implement a $10 per item charge for bulk pickup for the first three items as well. Beyond the first three, there will be a $30 charge per item for bulk pickup.
Carson Elders, a crew leader for the city’s street department, was recognized with a service award for his efforts in organizing and leading a training session to teach other street employees how to safely operate chainsaws used to remove hazardous tree limbs from public spaces.