(MURFREESBORO) NewsRadio WGNS works to give all views on stories so that the public can form opinions based on information from all. The information in this story is from Republic Services, and Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland will be on WGNS "live" from 8:10-9:00AM this coming Wednesday morning ((10/12/2022) to interact with the public.
On Friday (10/7/2022) the Middle Point Landfill filed two motions to dismiss in response to an earlier lawsuit filed by the City of Murfreesboro against the landfill. In litigation filed in August by the City of Murfreesboro in federal court in the Middle District of Tennessee, the City made several charges.
Statements from the City claim that Middlen Point is discharging PFAS into the East Fork Stones River. PFAS is a “forever chemical” frequently found in municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) sludge, like that of the City of Murfreesboro’s own WWTP.
Republic Makes Counter-Claims
The information released Friday by Republic claims that there are two fundamental flaws with the City’s lawsuit. First, laboratory analytical data collected from the City of Murfreesboro’s WWTP sludge demonstrates that the City itself is a significant source of any PFAS found in the Middle Point Landfill. The City has disposed of this sludge, for free, for over two decades. This ongoing, free disposal of PFAS contaminated sludge from the City of Murfreesboro is itself a source of the alleged contamination in the lawsuit brought by the City. Taxpayers are now stuck funding a politically motivated lawsuit that has no foundation in truth, and is in fact, the result of the City’s own negligence.
BFI Waste Systems of Tennessee, a Republic subsidiary, claims that the City of Murfreesboro has also, intentionally or otherwise, implicated Rutherford County and potentially increased taxpayer liabilities for citizens of Rutherford County.
In their press release, Republic says that the City has made baseless allegations about a so-called “spring discharge” of contaminants into the East Fork Stones River. However, the location of this discharge is upgradient of the Middle Point Landfill. Groundwater flow at the Middle Point Landfill is not toward this discharge.
Republic claims that the more likely source of this discharge is the adjacent Rutherford County Landfill, which is directly next to the alleged contamination and has historically failed to sufficiently collect leachate from their unlined landfill. Additionally, the Rutherford County Landfill sits adjacent to the Middle Point Landfill. The Rutherford County Landfill has, for decades, discharged leachate free of charge into the Middle Point Landfill on-site pre-treatment plant, for pre-treatment and ultimate disposal.
The City seeks to terminate Middle Point Landfill’s ability to discharge leachate, which inherently removes Rutherford County Landfill’s ability to discharge leachate to the Middle Point Landfill as well. This leaves the County with the added cost of disposing this leachate elsewhere.
In the information sent to WGNS by Republic, they note that Middle Point Landfill takes pride in being a good neighbor and responsible operator. Since 2021, the site has invested $7.5M in their gas collection and control system, including installation of 84 new gas wells, and nearly 4,000 linear feet of horizontal collectors. Additionally, the site invested $2.5M into the onsite pre-treatment plant to treat leachate from the Middle Point and Rutherford County landfills.
General Manager for Post Collection Operations Mike Classen said, “We are doing everything in our power to continue responsible site management. We are proud of the improvements we’ve made here at Middle Point Landfill, and look forward to continuing to invest in our community.”
A hearing on the filed motions has not been set. You can track the filings on the Middle District of Tennessee website here.