Solid Waste Council hears long list of options for the future

feb-workshop-1

Members of the Rutherford County Solid Waste Advisory/Steering Council heard about a broad range of options Monday night for dealing with solid waste when the Middle Point landfill reaches capacity. (Read the full presentation here.)

The options discussed ranged from keeping a landfill in-county, to regional solutions, to recycling, to transfer stations, and reducing trash at its source. Also discussed were various ways to pay for a solution and how to govern it. The council heard detailed presentations from GBB Solid Waste Management Consultants, TriAd Environmental Consultants, and Cooley Public Strategies. They make up the consulting group that was commissioned to study the Middle Point situation.

According to Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland, “Nothing is off the table.”

feb-workshop2“We heard a lot of information that ran the gamut – recycling, regional solutions for example” said McFarland. “Our task now is to zero in on the options that will be economically and environmentally sound for our communities.”

Funding options were discussed, and Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess said:

“There is no one simple answer in a community that is growing as rapidly as ours is.

“Cost is a critical factor, and we know, without question, that our costs are going up. The challenge is to minimize those costs and provide the service our community needs.”

Middle Point is expected to reach capacity in no more than 8 years. At that time, taxpayers will lose free use of the landfill – worth at least $4 million annually – and the county will lose about $900,000 a year paid by other counties that use Middle Point. Against this backdrop, the Advisory Council members are looking for potential solutions that will best serve Rutherford County for years to come.

Members recently took a “field trip” to the PHG Energy facility in Lebanon. PHG touts itself as being able to process as much as 64 tons of waste a day and produce up to 400kw of electricity, without smoke or odors. Advisory Council members plan to visit additional facilities.

The Advisory Council includes representatives from Rutherford County government as well as the cities of Murfreesboro, Smyrna, La Vergne, and Eagleville.

Based on the discussions Monday night, the consultants will narrow the focus and develop several scenarios for the Advisory Council to consider. Community input will be an important part to the process, as the Advisory Council makes decisions on what action to recommend.

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