Rural TN governments duped by corporate landfill operations?

The Tennessean has a report on controversy surrounding two rural West Tennessee communities dealing with big corporations that located landfills within their boundaries, expanded them over the years to take in allegedly toxic wastes polluting the environment — and now seek to exit the scene.

The article’s focus is on Decatur County (so rural the article uses the county name as a dateline rather than the county seat, Decaturville), which has a lawsuit going against a subsidiary of Waste Industries Inc.

In February, a surprise inspection by county officials found high levels of arsenic, ammonia, cyanide and other heavy metals in leakage from the landfill they traced into a creek that flows to the Tennessee River, the source of the community’s drinking water.

A day after county officials inspected the landfill, the company filed suit seeking to walk away from its contract to manage the landfill.

County officials have counter-sued, contending Waste Industries is trying to leave it with a multi-million dollar environmental mess. They have also filed formal notice with the federal Environmental Protection Agency of their intent to sue the company for violations of federal clean water and solid waste rules.

Cited as a similar situation is the town of Camden (county seat of Benton County, located about 45 miles away).

In Camden, landfill owner Environmental Waste Solutions, which likewise accepted thousands of tons of “special wastes,” filed for bankruptcy and abandoned operations earlier this month. Local District Attorney Matthew Stowe is investigating the company for possible public safety and white collar crimes while Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, or TDEC, officials are working to contain the site.

The two landfill controversies also have something else in common: Community leaders and residents are laying part of the blame on TDEC for not holding landfill operators accountable.

…TDEC officials take strong issue with criticism they have not done their job or protected local communities.

5 Responses to Rural TN governments duped by corporate landfill operations?

  • Diana Page says:

    This reminds me of the practices of many mining companies.

  • Linda says:

    I am intimately familiar with the situation in Camden. TDEC has NOT done its job. There should NEVER have been a hazardous waste dump allowed in the city limits of Camden. Residents have experienced serious health issues caused by this dump site for years.

    • Duck says:

      The stench wakes me up every weekend between 11pm and 1am. I vomit, my sinuses go haywire, and it keeps me up all night, burning candles and using sprays that never cover the stench. I think it’s time for another attempt at a class-action lawsuit. The last one failed, but maybe we can make it an annual thing and become such a pain in all the bureaucrats’ butts they have no recourse but to cease and desist and FIX IT. I’m sick of being sick and I actually moved AWAY from a large city BECAUSE OF THIS PROBLEM just to move to a small town that invited in even worse. It wasn’t like this while we were investigating the move or moving. And I want everyone involved to pay for my worsening health. If I can stop puking long enough to start a petition and start aggravating the local and state governments, I will absolutely do so. It’s just very hard to fight when you’re sick, and they know it. I hope they all rot in hell.

  • Cannoneer2 says:

    Having worked in the environmental field, I can say that this is only the tiny tip of a gigantic iceberg concerning pollution in Tennessee. You have no idea how bad it really is.

  • VINCE MURRAY says:

    SULLIVAN COUNTY TN. HAS TWO DUMPS (I HAVE TROUBLE REFERRING TO THEM AS LANDFILLS) THANKS TO OUR MAYORS AND MOST OF OUR COMMISSIONERS # 82-0158 LASTED FROM 1980 TO THE EARLY 1990’S. #82-0158 HAD & STILL HAS NUMEROUS PROBLEMS. ECO-SAFE #82-0282 OPENED 2012 IS OPERATED BY ADVANCE DISPOSAL OF FLORIDA. & HAS BROUGHT US ODORS, DIRTY ROADS THAT COULD BE UNHEALTHY.
    A VERY GOOD SOURCE OF INFO IS gfredlee.com. HAS NUMEROUS TECHNICAL COMMON SENSE WRITINGS.ONE OVER 100 PAGES IS FLAWED TECHNOLOGY

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