Murfreesboro's new Mayor Shane McFarland visited the WGNS' Action Line radio show last Wednesday (5/14/2014) and took a constant flow of calls from area residents. Several dealt with garbage. The mayor researched some questions, and now shares his findings with the public.
On the question about a need to keep the city convenience center on West Main Street open during posted hours, Mayor McFarland contacted Solid Waste Director Joey Smith.
The mayor reports: At the present per the contract, Republic is furnishing the center with one compactor and two 30 yard containers for waste collection. The Solid Waste Department has station at the center a spare 20 yard rear loader to try to handle the over flow. Republic is pulling the 2 -30 yards each day but they can fill up quickly. They are pulling the compactor on a schedule of Tuesday and Saturday. We do not close the center unless the garbage is full. Most of the excess volume of traffic is on Monday and Thursday when all of the Rutherford County sites are closed. When the recycling bins for glass, newspaper and cardboard are pulled there is no switch box for these commodities. The round trip time to haul, dump and return the containers is between 2 and 2 and 1/2 hours depending on traffic. When the bins are gone there is no place to put recycling. Where the recycling is taken, their schedule of operation is 7:00am to 4:00pm and they are closed on the weekends. The resident can take any recycling to 1140 Haley Road which is just over a mile to the site from the 648 West Main site.
RECYCLING and LIFE OF LANDFILL
The question of recycling waste and the expected life of the Middle Point Landfill were raised by listeners. Mayor McFarland relays a conversation he had with City Manager Rob Lyons.
Lyons told him, "Last August Mac Nolen and I met with John Dolan with Republic Industries, at that time he gave the estimate at the present volume coming into the landfill a 12 year life span. However, we must take into consideration the growth rate of Murfreesboro, Rutherford County and the approximately 15 counties other than Rutherford that use the largest landfill in Tennessee."
Any increase in volume will decrease the life of Middle Point.
The city manager told the mayor, "Since that time both Mac and I have been exploring ways to handle trash both for Murfreesboro and Rutherford County as the two cannot be separated because of the economy of scale. We both have to deal with residential waste, bulky waste and with special waste, for the City it will be sewer sludge and for the County it will be tires. At the present we have met with different people on different approaches other than just land filling the garbage collected. This discussion includes curbside recycling, pay as you throw options, and waste to energy possibilities."
The state of Tennessee is in the process of creating a new 10 year solid waste plan that will increase in all likelihood the mandated 25% reduction of waste going into a Class 1 landfill such as Middle Point.
Mayor McFarland reports, "This year in both the Senate and House, they have tried to raise the recycle rate to 38% and then in the future move to 50%. It passed the Senate; the House has tabled it for the year to study."
The mayor closed by noting, "We have had and still do enjoy a disposal rate that anyone would want. We have a great city and the departments and leadership of the city are first class. I want for the City and County a first class disposal option that will last."