Community Update Series – Rhea County Officials ask landfill operator to resolve complaints

DAYTON, Tenn. — A recent inspection shows Rhea County’s landfill is operating within state guidelines, but about 40 neighbors of the Smyrna Road site told county commissioners the report does not address their concerns.

The residents complained Tuesday about odor from the facility, muddy roads caused by trucks leaving the site and unsafe traffic conditions created by waste trucks.

Cheryl Dunson, vice president of marketing for landfill operator Santek Waste Services, said the facility’s wheel washer had been inoperative until recently and the company is planning to upgrade it to fix the road dirt problem. She said the company would “do a better job of controlling our trucks,” but “we need help from the county with enforcement” for other haulers.

Commission Chairman Jim Reed told Dunson the company has 30 days to get the wheel washer fixed.

“If you don’t, we’re going to the county attorney,” Reed said. “I’ve been on this board 18 months, and I’ve heard about the wheel washer for 18 months. If you want to be a good neighbor, help us resolve this issue.”

Dunson, responding to earlier reports of E. coli contamination of groundwater around the landfill, said a state inspection in late February showed area contamination levels “465 times higher than at the overflows from the landfill.” But she said Santek would investigate complaints that runoff from the landfill was flowing onto neighboring properties.

She also said she would take to the company president requests to hire an air quality monitor to investigate complaints of noxious odors.

Complaints about hours the landfill operates were referred to County Attorney Carol Barron when commissioners and Dunson could not agree on the meaning of language in the contract.

She also said the company is willing to negotiate with the county the possibility of charging a tipping fee for local waste, as requested by the commission. Commissioners said they need new revenue to pay for solid waste collection. But Dunson said local tipping fees, which now are not charged, violate the intention of the contract when it was approved by the commission in the late 1990s.

About gvenice

I have over 25 years of electrical engineering and business management experience. I previously owned and managed a multi million dollar engineering firm. My work took me all over the globe, managing the construction of manufacturing plants where I built a reputation of providing superior service, getting projects done on time and within or under budget. My dedication to the fine details and logical approach to accomplishing tasks provide a huge benefit to my Real Estate clients. After selling my business and retiring to this area, I found a new passion in the Real Estate business and I bring to this business the same level of professional skill and conduct that has made mr successful in the past. My global exposure and extensive travel are also an asset when dealing with a customer base that is located worldwide. An avid boater, I have a thourough understanding of the waterways of East Tennessee and the intricacies involved in dealing with the TVA and the Army Corps of Engineers.
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