The county landfill is probably one of the community’s best kept secrets. It is the final resting place for everything from old newspapers to food scraps to worn-out tennis shoes. It is self-sustaining and does not have to be underwritten with taxpayer dollars. Instead, it generates income, making Bradley County one of the few communities in Tennessee with a landfill fund. State law allows us to use these funds to expand our drop-off recycling program and fund other environmentally friendly activities such as the April 27, 2011, storm cleanup and the annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day.
The county landfill has been professionally managed for the county by Santek Waste Services since 1987. Santek’s responsibilities include engineering and design, permitting, construction, operation and fee collection, environmental monitoring, and closure and post-closure care.
Handling the community’s garbage requires time, labor, transportation, fuel, money and materials. Santek has done a good job of keeping the landfill within EPA compliance, and in the black financially. In 2011, Santek returned to Bradley County $312,443 in revenue.
A few years ago some were predicting the landfill had a remaining life span of only five to six years. Thanks to careful management and Santek’s construction of a new five-acre cell in 2011, as well as increased participation in the county recycling program, the landfill has a projected remaining life of 46 years. This is important because building a new landfill costs taxpayers millions of dollars and can take up to five years for government approval.
Like all modern landfills, Bradley County’s is constructed to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards which include a clay liner, synthetic plastic liner, leachate collection system and environmental monitoring system for groundwater, surface water and methane gas. The landfill’s permit allows it to accept municipal solid waste as well as construction and demolition debris.
The surface area of the waste is covered daily to assist in controlling odors and reducing the number of birds and animals attracted to the site. The landfill does not accept any liquids or hazardous materials. However, these items are collected and disposed of during the county’s annual Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day.
There are several elements involved in managing the county’s solid waste stream. One of the most important is our recycling program. For every ton of materials that we recycle, we add more years to our available landfill space. Last year, the three convenient drop-off centers recycled 142 tons of cardboard, 472 tons of mixed paper, 64 tons of glass, 5.8 tons of aluminum, 10,095 gallons of oil, 58,148 tires, 12 tons of white goods, five tons of electronics and 39 tons of plastics. This created a significant reduction in landfill waste in 2011.
I want to urge each citizen to make a commitment to recycling. We provide three conveniently located drop-off centers. The landfill center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Peerless Road Center is located behind the Farmer’s Market and is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Urbane Road Center at the recreation complex is open Tuesday and Thursday from 1 to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Recycled computers and electronics are only accepted at the Peerless Road Drop-off Center. Monitors and televisions cannot be recycled. However, they can be taken to the Bradley County Landfill.
By joining the recycling effort you are helping to extend the life of the landfill, creating jobs and conserving energy. That’s good for you, the taxpayer, and it’s good for the environment.