Landfill vital to community, county
by LUCIE R. WILLSIE, Associate Editor
Jan 11, 2013 | 1805 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hidden Cleveland
THIS IS THE MOST RECENT AERIAL PHOTO of the Bradley County Landfill, which first opened back in the 1970s. Submitted photo
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The Bradley County Landfill has earned the county more than $2 million over the past 12 years.

Actually, it has been $2,223,536 since January 2000, according to Cheryl Dunson, vice president for Santek Waste Services, not including the money the county will receive for the last quarter of 2012.

“And all the revenue goes into a landfill fund for the county. ... No tax dollars are spent on the construction, management and monitoring of the facility,” Dunson said. “Usually, if a landfill breaks even, it’s doing well ... It’s a partnership between Santek and the county and a service to the residents. ... Bradley County is our corporate hometown.”

Santek also manages 18 facilities in nine states.

Santek has managed the local landfill since July 1, 1987, but the facility is owned by Bradley County. Dunson and Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis meet once a month to go over the figures and monthly operation reports, inspections, tonnages and recycling efforts.

“It’s very important, as well as a requirement for the county, to have a landfill or access to a landfill,” Davis said. And, although the county owns the landfill, the county has no expenses in running it, unlike the previous landfill that cost the county to operate. Now, Santek Waste Services not only runs it at no cost to the county, Santek also gives a percentage of the proceeds back to the county. “But the money must be used for recycling efforts. The money helped [pay for the $2 million-plus cost of] the debris cleanup for the tornado disaster in April 2011.”

For example, debris was stacked 10 feet high along either side of the road of the devastated areas, the mayor explained, and the money to pay for the cleanup came from the proceeds from the landfill.

“The landfill turned from a cost to a moneymaker,” he said. Plus, the life of the landfill was extended dramatically, he added. When the mayor first took office in 1998, the landfill was about to expire.

Some of the landfill proceeds are also used by the county to help fund the county’s currently twice-annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection event.

In 1994, a 28-acre extension to the landfill was permitted, designed, financed and constructed by Santek. That’s when the local landfill became the first publicly owned one in Tennessee to meet Subtitle D regulations, as well as to only serve the needs of a single county. Subtitle D standards require use of a composite liner with 60-mil, high density polyethylene, as well as a geo-clay membrane barrier. The landfill also has more than eight groundwater monitoring wells and seven methane gas wells.

The landfill has a permitted capacity of almost 17 million cubic yards of airspace and receives roughly 200,000 tons of solid waste every year from companies and waste generators within a 60-mile radius of Bradley County.

Santek finished closing 45 acres of the old, unlined landfill, installing a geo-textile liner and a compacted clay cap in 1998.

Several years ago, Santek also became the only landfill manager in Tennessee to get a new permit for a construction and demolition landfill to be built over parts of the unlined landfill areas. This 40-acre-plus area has a life expectancy of 50.4 years, based on the current 200 tons of waste received each day.

By 2007, Santek got a permit extension from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to add another 50-plus acres to the landfill, enlarging it to almost 80 acres.

“We have a very good facility that has a very long life,” Davis said.

Santek establishes the tipping fee, giving some of the money received to Bradley County. In addition, Santek also oversees the site location and daily operations, the engineering, the site analysis and design, the financing, billing and collections, cell excavation and construction, site access, soil and erosion compliance, surveying, closure and post-closure care, hazardous and infectious waste screenings, groundwater and stormwater monitoring, methane gas monitoring, a recycling center and full-time community outreach.

“Right now, we are working on a permit modification to join together two areas of the unlined landfill that accepts construction demolition waste,” Dunson said. The rest of the established open landfill is set aside for putrescible waste, or waste that breaks down, such as household garbage. The modified permit only would apply to waste that doesn’t readily break down, such as shingles, concrete, and wood, etc. “It’s been tentatively approved.”

The lifespan of the current 43-acre landfill is estimated to be 38 more years at an estimated 800 tons per day. But after a landfill must be closed, the property can still be useful to the community.

“After a landfill closes, a park, a recreation facility, like walking trails and riding trails, or soccer fields can be built,” Dunson said, “but not structures. Nothing that would disturb the landfill cap.”

Three recycling centers can be found around the Cleveland area. One is the Bradley County Landfill, which is open from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. This recycling facility accepts paper products, glass, aluminum, batteries, oil, tires, and big appliances.

Another is the Urbane Road Recycling Center, which is open from 1:30 to 5 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. The Urbane facility accepts corrugated cardboard, mixed paper, glass, aluminum, and mixed plastics.

And the third is the Peerless Road Recycling Center, which is open from 1:30 to 5 p.m., on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. This center also takes in corrugated cardboard, mixed paper, glass, aluminum, and mixed plastics, as well as electronics.

For more information from Santek, call 476-8118.

For more information from Bradley County, call 728-7141.