By Crystal Burns
The Trenton Board of Alderman unanimously voted to hire a consulting company out of Nashville to help the city get in compliance with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).
At the Aug. 27 City Council meeting, Major Ricky Jackson recommended hiring K.S. Ware and Associates, a privately held engineering firm that provides geotechnical services, Construction Engineering and Inspections, Special Inspections and hazardous materials consulting. Jackson said cost would depend what the consultant finds or doesn’t find, and the process would probably be done in three phases.
Per TDEC, the consultant is to get core samples of the area behind the Street Department on West Tenth Street that used to serve as the city dump. TDEC officials want the city to cap off the area – cover with layers of dirt – and never use it for any reason in the future.
Jackson received two proposals, and he recommended K.S. Ware.
After the meeting, Jackson explained that on March 12, a Trenton resident made a complaint to TDEC about smoke coming from the Street Department. TDEC sent a field agent to the site and informed city officials that employees were burning materials that the state had deemed illegal.
“We were doing some things we didn’t realize were wrong,” said Alderman Tony Burriss, who serves on the street and sanitation committees.
Jackson said city leaders were unaware that materials such as treated or stained wood and limbs with leaves on them were not to be burned and said that the TDEC agent also found some materials that should not have been dumped.
“Most of these materials were brought in by private interests, some from out of town,” Jackson noted. “Upon learning of these restrictions, the city stopped all burning and dumping at the Street Department.”
On April 10, the city received a Notice of Violation from TDEC, and on April 25, TDEC conducted a facilities observation and saw that the city had cleaned up the areas in question and were no longer burning materials that were on the no burn list, Jackson said. At that time, employees in city street trucks would pick up curbside waste and other wood products, bring it into the Street Department and put the waste into trash roll-offs (large dumpsters) to be carried off by Republic Services, the city’s waste management contractor, at a cost to the city.
On July 16, Jackson and Burriss attended a Show Cause Hearing at TDEC offices in Nashville where it was determined that the city was in violation of burning and solid waste codes and that steps to become compliant were to take place and fines could be issued. Since then, TDEC Air Pollution Section has fined the city $8,000 for burning materials on the no burn list.
“Because of what the city will have to do in the future to stop the extreme cost of getting rid of curbside waste by putting all of it in roll-offs and paying for it to be taken to a dumping site, it is only logical that there will be some changes in the way the city handles curbside waste pickup,” Jackson said. “There are no thoughts of discontinuing curbside pickup, but the manner in which the city accomplishes it will have to change. The plan is being worked, and when it is ready, the changes will be implemented. Your leaves will be picked up but instead of burning them, the state will require us to spread them over an area designated by the city.”
“Changes in environmental laws have caused to take a serious look at how we dispose of our waste,” Jackson noted. “As regrettable as the situation is, the city will have to make changes to abide by the standards set up by the state.”
Jackson welcomes citizens with questions to contact him at 855-2013.