NASHVILLE, TN – There’s not much to like about a dump in your neighborhood. It depresses home values; it smells like rotten eggs; dump tricks rumble to and fro spewing clouds of dust.
All day long, vultures circle high above the 77-acre landfill located off Briley Parkway and Ashland City Highway. Southern Services wants to expand the site. Otherwise, it would have to be shut down and the company would have to find another location. Residents universally oppose the expansion.
“This is something that has consistently been a problem for decades,” said District 1 Councilman Jonathan Hall. The site has been cited for violations including soil erosion, excessive pooling of water, solid waste in the sediment collection pond, and leachate seeping into the ground from the dump.
The landfill is a construction debris landfill. It will take wood, yard waste, metal, brick, roof shingles, and concrete. It does not accept municipal trash. But it does take debris containing asbestos, soil contaminated with gasoline, and other toxic materials. Southern Services does a good job covering up the mountain of trash with dirt and planting grass.
Hall said there is a high incidence of cancer, asthma, and other chronic diseases in Bordeaux; residents suspect those health problems are linked to the landfill.
Now 47, Hall grew up with two landfills nearby. The Bordeaux landfill on County Hospital Rd. accepted garbage for 23 years and closed in 1996. “This is something we have watched in real time for generations now,” he said.
The State of Tennessee and Davidson County have Solid Waste Plans. Davidson County’s Solid Waste Region Board will review Southern Services plans for a 17-acre expansion on 3/24/21 from 4:00-6:00 pm. Details to send comments or attend the virtual meeting are below.
In 1994 Southern Services submitted an expansion plan that the local waste board voted down. The matter ended up in court; Southern Services prevailed, and the dump kept operating.
“What they’ve done historically is every time they wanted to do something different, they simply added it to the existing permit,” Hall said. He was referring to the long- standing practice of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), a state agency that issues landfill operating permits and routinely approves expansion plans.
But in May 2017 Davidson County adopted the Jackson Law that gives local control to Metro concerning landfill locations and waste management operations within its borders. Now that the landfill is almost full again, a battle over jurisdiction is brewing between Metro and TDEC.
“Any regional waste board decision, once Jackson Law was instituted, must be consistent with Jackson Law’s rulings, parameters, and guidelines. Thusly, TDEC must also be in line and cannot divert from any solid waste region board decision,” Hall said.
He said Solid Waste plans are in place and all agencies, including TDEC, should be consistent with each other and adhere to them. Hall said the proposed expansion would bury a stream and encroach on existing wetlands. That would be a violation of state environmental laws.
“This is distinctly different this time because we have support from Metro legal,” Hall said.
“This is the first time across the board, you’ve got the Mayor, Metro legal, me, the councilmember, the state representative (Dixie), the state senator (Gilmore), and the community in lockstep. At every turn it has been 1000%. We don’t want this expansion and we want this facility closed,” he said.
“Each time an expansion has come up,” Senator Brenda Gilmore said that she heard the same thing: ‘this is the last one’.
“So, we’ve been given a false narrative each time. The community is just tired; the community feels like they have carried the burden of the trash for this city for years and now its time for the Mayor, the Metro Council, and the city of Nashville to step up and share in this burden,” she said.
Gilmore noted that Nashville would generate more trash as it continues to grow. And dumping municipal waste in poorer areas where Black and brown people live has always been the default.
“We need to make sure the Jackson law is invoked and that it is used in this particular instance,” said Rep. Vincent Dixie.
Residents can attend the virtual meeting of the Davidson County Solid Waste Region Board virtually and make a comment. The meeting can be joined via Webex 3/24/2021 between 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. at this link: (Solid Waste Board)
You can join the meeting via phone by calling: 415-655-0002. When prompted for the meeting access code, enter ‘146 609 2144’ followed by #. You can email comments to: Customer.firstname.lastname@example.org. You can write to: Region Solid Waste Board, 750 S. 5th St. Nashville, TN 37206
You can call 629 -255-1905 for public comment. For questions call Sharon Smith at 615- 862-8715 or email her: Sharon.email@example.com