Did you know there are 680,000 tons of Aluminum waste in Republic Services Middle point Landfill? Yes, 680,000 TONS! Now you might say, So What? Aluminum Production Waste is hazardous. When it comes in contact with water or several other things it heats up and that’s not a good thing.
Here’s a little story about some of what happened with the Countywide Landfill in Canton, Ohio after Republic Services took in 600,000 tons of aluminum waste between 1993 and 2006. In 2001 elevated temperatures were recorded at the gas wells in several cells. In 2004, odor complaints increased exponentially and Republic Services put in more gas wells and a gas collection system. In 2005, The temperatures on the wells kept rising, odor complaints increased too. In 2006 there were leachate outbreaks, increased odor complaints and accelerated settlement of up to 20 feet in areas and 6 feet horizontal movement in areas. There was a change in the composition of the gasses emitted - less methane and more ammonia, hydrogen and carbon monoxide. (Read more at https://response.epa.gov/site/site_profile.aspx?site_id=3944 )
Finally in 2009, the EPA got involved. They required Republic Services to clean it up. This is an expensive and very intensive process costing $17,193,716.00. In today’s money it is $22,344,129.00, but this doesn’t account for the pre EPA ordered cleanup measures they took there or what increased costs might be in the future. Republic Services is required by Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to provide $85.9 million in financial assurances for proper operation, closure, and post closure care for 50 years.
An article in Waste Management World in Aug. 2010 talks about the life of a liner being 375 years if the temperature is 10 C/50 F. It comes down to around 20 years when the temperature rises to 60 C/140 F. According to semi-annual reports Republic makes to TDEC, increased temperatures above 170 degrees have been recorded at 14 gas wells at Middle Point in 2021. This is evidence of ongoing aluminum waste reactions.
Aluminum waste reactions cause more toxic and explosive gasses to develop. Have you noticed an increase in the odors coming from the landfill lately? That can be a sign that it is heating up., has done damage to the collection system, and is leaking more toxic gasses.
Aluminum waste reactions cause an increase in leachate and more toxins in the leachate coming from the landfill. Leachate is the liquid that percolates through the solid waste and is collected in ponds, then piped to the water treatment plant for processing. TDEC was out at the landfill last year citing them for leachate issues.
Aluminum waste can catch fire, igniting the waste around it and spreading, causing the landfill to combust underground, a very expensive and difficult fire to put out. A fire that spews toxins into the air and earth and water nearby. (Detection of Aluminum Waste Reactions and Waste Fires in the Journal of Hazardous,Toxic, and Radioactive Waste, July 2013)
So ask yourselves, Do you trust Republic Services to expand the landfill safely and with your interests in mind? I know that is a big NO from me. And then ask yourselves what are you going to do about it? Here are a couple of suggestions:
1) Report odors on the city website for that purpose.
2) Call your county commissioner and tell them what you think about all this, and the county mayor, and city council members and write TDEC a letter. Then when the next meeting of the Solid Waste Regional Board occurs, show up to let them know you still want them to vote no on expansion.
3) When there are public meetings/hearings about it, GO to them, speak your piece. Sen.Terry just filed a bill requiring local support for expansion of a landfill, let your Senator know you support this bill. Here is a list of websites to find contact information.