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New Concerns about "Mount Trashmore"

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (Anfinson) -- Local environmentalists and concerned citizens are raising a stink about air quality in the area surrounding Murfreesboro’s Middle Point Landfill, referred to by many local residents as Mt. Trashmore.

Recently, citizens gathered at Walter Hill Elementary, a spot within direct sight of Middle Point landfill, to voice their concerns to the Tennessee Department of Air Pollution Control and BFI/Allied Waste Systems. BFI is the company that operates the landfill, and they are applying to renew their operating permit.

Presently, BFI conducts all of their own air quality testing. TDAC follows up with annual inspections, but for many in the room a yearly inspection or two falls short of the type of oversight they would like to see--namely, independent tests.

BFI General Manager, John Doyen, said he understands that the community has concerns but believes BFI is doing its part to satisfy the demands of the permit renewal.

"We value their opinions. We’re proud that they came out tonight and they’re expressing those concerns, and we’re taking those into consideration as well, but we are following everything to the letter of the law and will continue doing so going forward."

Dee Butler is a member of the community organizing group SOCM and the mother of a child who plays soccer near the landfill. She turned out with other SOCM members to call for more accountability.

"We’re now trusting the people who are creating the smell to monitor themselves. We need the state, the people who represent the residents, the citizens, to do it on behalf of the citizens."

However, TDAC Director, Barry Stephens, said he is confident in the EPA standards and regulations they already have in place.

"The thing I’d emphasise is, you can go test, but they’ve got the best controls that are available when you are dealing with air pollution from a landfill right now."

SOCM community organizer, Brad Wright, said they plan to continue following the issue and may petition the EPA to reconsider BFI’s permit renewal request.