Carter County Landfill and its biggest customer, Blue Ridge Trash, part ways

John Thompson • Sep 7, 2013 at 10:32 PM

ELIZABETHTON — The Carter County Landfill has lost its biggest customer to the newest landfill in the Tri-Cites.

Carter County Landfill Manager Benny Lyons reported to the Landfill Committee of the Carter County Commission on Friday that Blue Ridge Trash has quit hauling garbage to the county’s transfer station off Minton Hollow Road.

Lyons said Blue Ridge was able to get a substantially lower rate per ton by hauling its trash directly to Advance Disposal’s Eco-Safe Landfill in Blountville.

Landfill Committee Chairman Joel Street said he held no hard feelings about the decision by the owner of Blue Ridge.

“You can’t blame him, he is only trying to get the best deal for his company,” Street said.

Committee member Steve Lowrance said he has talked with the owner and said the rate offered by Advance Disposal was much lower than the county offered.

Lyons said there were several other factors that entered into the county’s equation. The biggest was the requirement that the county continue to monitor and maintain the closed household-garbage landfill.

Lyons said the county must continue to conduct tests, haul away and dispose of leachate and maintain the property around the landfill for the next 17 years. The maintenance costs have been even higher this year with the high amount of precipitation, resulting in many more trips to dispose of the leachate. “This is an expensive beast,” Lyons said.

In order to ensure the Carter County Landfill is able to maintain enough revenue to monitor the closed landfill as well as provide for the day-to-day operations of the rest of the facilities, the committee is looking into the possibility of passing a private act that would require solid waste haulers operating in Carter County to use the transfer station.

The committee voted unanimously to allow a study to go forward by Lyons and the University of Tennessee’s County Technical Assistance Service on whether or not the private act should be pursued.

In other matters, committee member Charles Von Cannon criticized the condition of the county’s recycling center last Tuesday morning, following the three-day Labor Day weekend. The bins set outside to collect cardboard, plastic were overflowing and scattered about. Von Cannon said he received several complaints from the public.

Lyons said he had a very short crew that day. Because the landfill operates on six days, two of the landfill’s six employees usually take off Tuesday as their holiday. When another employee called in sick, he said he was down to three employees Tuesday.

The state requires most operations to have an employee present. The one exception is the recycling center, where bins can be placed outside for the public to use without assistance.

In addition to having half his employees out, Lyons said his roll-on, roll-off truck broke down. Even so, he was able to get the bins at the recycling center emptied and the grounds cleaned up by 10:30 a.m. He said normally, the bins would have been emptied early in the morning. He said the bins are always emptied late Friday before three-day weekends.

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