County also cited for trashiness

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By Damon Lawrence

Earlier this year, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation cited Roane County for unsatisfactory litter control at the Midtown Recycling Center.

According to TDEC reports, the county was put on notice about the problem during an inspection on May 5.

TDEC inspected the center again on May 17 and cited the county for the same problem.

“Progress has been made,” the inspector wrote in the comment section of the May 17 report. “All litter must be picked up.”

TDEC would return on May 19 to investigate a complaint about the old Midtown landfill that alleged waste from the landfill was in the woods.

According to the trip report, resident Anna Belle Fielden took two TDEC inspectors up the back side of the landfill through a wet- weather conveyance.

“The only reason I took them was so Mom wouldn’t walk up there,” Fielden said.

Her mother, Midtown resident Mary Helen Nichols, has complained about the landfill for years.

The report said Fielden and the TDEC officials walked about two to three miles.

“There was litter in the conveyance area, as are in all conveyance areas with one spot where some glass and other items had been dumped years ago,” the report said. “Not large enough to send a letter.”  

The report said there was one spot on the conveyance that had what appeared to be iron water seep on the side walls.

“This area was close to the landfill,” the report said. “The water did change color below this area.”

TDEC told Roane County Solid Waste Coordinator Ralph Stewart to sample the area.

“We also told him to clean the litter from the conveyance to his property line when the vegetation dies back in the fall,” the report said. “Some of the litter probably originates from the convenience center at the top of the hill. No waste is washing out of the landfill itself and no large dumps located in the woods, either.”

“I’d like to see that water tested,” Fielden said, “and whatever is back there, the state needs to make the county clean it up.”

In an e-mail Monday, TDEC communications director Tisha Calabrese-Benton said the water sample that was taken came back with no problems, and the complaint investigation has been closed.

Calabrese-Benton also said the recycling center is in good standing with TDEC.

“I’m told they are currently in compliance with the department,” she said.