County Commission To Decide On C&D Landfill Next To Birchwood Landfill

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The County Commission is set to vote next Wednesday on rezoning for a new 25-acre construction and debris landfill next to the city's Birchwood Landfill.

Greg Krum of the group seeking to install the landfill said there is a crying need since the city closed its C&D Landfill. He said the closest one is in southern Bradley County.

A number of opponents wear green T-shirts said they fear the new landfill would ruin water supplies and bring new noise and traffic while devaluing their homes.

The hilly site off the 9000 block of Bryan Road is currently wooded. Officials said the entrance would be the same entry for the Birchwood Landfill, and the current scales there would be used. Chattanooga is now shipping all its garbage to the Bradley site.

The group planning the landfill came armed with an engineer, who has designed a number of landfills and is working on four currently, as well as the former deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TEDEC), which oversees landfills.

There would be a required 100-foot setback.

Mr. Krum said several illegal dumps have sprung up since the city closed its C&D operation, including one in an old quarry.

The group plans to collect leachate from the site and truck it to an approved collection point, and it has been looking into some recycling.

Rev. Ernie Burfitt, pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church, cited concerns about toxic wastes getting into the landfill and worries that the current owners might pull out and leave a mess.

John Chenkus said, "This could potentially have devastating effects on our drinking water and our habitat including toxic runoff into the Tennessee River."

Andy Mullins said the landfill was 58 feet from a main water source and 47 feet from a residence (a trailer he said was not currently occupied). He said it was felt that a majority of the commission had already agreed to support the proposal, but Commissioner Joe Graham said that was not the case. 

Lisa Davis said she was concerned that the new landfill - once approved - might later be expanded. She said there were also concerns that the proposed new Harrison wastewater treatment plant by the WWTA might go in nearby.

One speaker said the city landfill is on the other side of the ridge, but this landfill would be in the same basin as the river and Harrison Bay State Park.

The Birchwood Landfill was put in by the county in 1974 and later transferred to the city at the time it closed the Summit Landfill.



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