Battle Renews Over Bordeaux Landfill

Behind the hill on the other side from Briley Parkway, the landfill is quickly reaching its permitted capacity.

By Peter White

NASHVILLE, TN — The Bordeaux dump is almost full. Don Gentilcore, senior district manager of the Southern Services landfill, said it will run out of space in 3-4 years.

Waste Management owns the facility and handles trash, garbage, and construction debris for much of Middle Tennessee, including Nashville. The Bordeaux landfill only accepts construction debris.

“The facility is a Class 3 landfill. What that means is that we are permitted to accept construction demolition material.  That includes brick, lumber, soil,

The center divider is in the foreground and the Bordeaux landfill is in the background. The green area along Briley Parkway is where Waste Management wants to expand the dump.

rock, and concrete,” Gentilcore said. “The landfill does not accept municipal solid waste or source-separated recyclables.”

That didn’t reassure about 60 residents, including members of Metro council, Sen. Brenda Gilmore and Rep.  Vincent Dixie, who were on a zoom call with Gentilcore last Saturday.

Dixie took a poll near the end of the call. Nobody voted in favor of Waste Management expanding the landfill. Bordeaux residents have been fighting against the dump for decades.

Now the fight has resumed because very soon Waste Management is going to apply to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) for a permit to expand.  Their plan, which will extend the boundaries of the dump along Briley Parkway, has generated a lot of pushback.

“The petition has 1,259 signatures currently to prevent any expansion and shut down this site, “ said District 1 Councilman Jonathan Hall. “We are demanding Metro legal and the mayor defend our position under the Jackson Law in court if necessary,” he said.

The Jackson Law gives local governments the right to regulate waste in their jurisdictions, to decide where it will go and, more importantly, where it won’t. The Davidson County Solid Waste Region Board is responsible for making 10-year plans to manage waste but it has never enforced the Jackson Law. The mayor and Metro Council do have that legal authority.

TDEC, a state agency, grants landfill permits to companies like Waste Management. This might be the first time Nashville invokes the 2017 law to stop a landfill expansion in Davidson County. The matter may end up in court to decide if TDEC or Metro has the last word.

District 28 Councilwoman Tanaka Vercher has a Waste Management transfer station in her district. “Understandably, it’s your land and just because you can expand doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do,” she said. 

Vercher said it was disingenuous to engage the community in a Zoom call if Waste Management didn’t have an alternative to expanding the landfill. 

“If you don’t expand on this particular property where else have you considered?” she asked. 

Gentilcore said the company would consider buying land for another landfill but their options are limited. “Some of those options could include transferring material out of the area, purchasing additional property currently not associated with Southern Services, or expanding Southern Services,” he said.  

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