Inspections indicate problems at landfill

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By The Staff



A violation was noted during separate Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation inspections of the closed Roane County landfill last year.

The July 27, 2009, inspection noted a violation because the facility did not correspond with permit conditions.

“The site still hasn’t been mowed,” the comment section of the inspection report stated. “Need to mow all of the site in the next 30 days and identify areas that need work and schedule maintenance or violation will be upgraded to V2.”

The TDEC inspection reports have two violation categories — V1 and V2.

“V2 is the more serious of the two,”  TDEC Communications Director Tisha Calabrese-Benton said by e-mail recently. “It could be due to the nature of the violation, or it could be because it is the second time that violation was noted.”

TDEC regularly inspects the landfill, even though it’s closed.

The Nov. 4, 2009, inspection noted a V1 violation because leachate was observed at the site.

“There is reddish water beside the road on the front section. Can’t tell where it is coming from,” the inspector wrote in the report’s comment section. “Check this, possibly an old leachate line is blocked here.”

Roane County Solid Waste Coordinator Ralph Stewart attributed the leachate problems to above average rainfall.

According to the National Weather Service in Morristown, the Knoxville area received 60.6 inches of rain in 2009.

Meteorologist Shawn O’Neil said the area normally averages 48.2.

Stewart said the leachate issues haven’t been as bad now that it’s not raining as much.

The landfill has not been inspected since last November.

TDEC inspection reports show that leachate has long been a problem at the closed landfill, which is located in Midtown.

Years ago the county decided to install a pumping system to transfer leachate to the sewer plant near Roane State Community College.

“It drains from the landfill to the holding tank, and then we pump it from the holding tank to the sewer plant,” Stewart said.

The landfill has not received as many leachate violations since the system has been in place.     

Last November’s inspection also noted that the top surface needs monitoring because the site is starting to settle unevenly.

TDEC was asked if that presented a risk to the public.

“No, though the areas that settle need to be properly filled in,” Calabrese-Benton said by e-mail. “The top of the landfill must be maintained so that it sheds stormwater off to the sides in order to prevent that water from pooling up on the top.”