State, local leaders fight landfill expansion in Bordeaux

Posted at 5:25 PM, Oct 21, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — State and local leaders in Nashville are pushing back against a plan to expand a landfill in Bordeaux.

The effort to grow Waste Management's Southern Services Landfill at Briley Parkway and Ashland City Highway by 17 acres has already been met with opposition from dozens of residents who voiced their concerns at a recent virtual town hall meeting.

Officials gathered Wednesday near the site to demand Mayor John Cooper and other Metro representatives to activate the Jackson Law, which requires local approval for landfills and veto the expansion.

There have been landfills in Bordeaux for more than 50 years and faced opposition throughout the time. People in the community say they've shouldered the burden for far too long and watched it damage the economy, stall development and slow home sales.

"It's time now for other parts of this city or state to bear the responsibility of taking care of Nashville's waste," Senator Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, said in a press conference. "We're begging Mayor Cooper, whom this community overwhelmingly supported, to take a rightful place and defend the residents in this part of the city."

"Enough is enough. We have screamed, we have shouted, we have begged and pleaded to stop dumping on us," Councilman Jonathan Hall added.

Concerns can vary depending on who you ask in the Bordeaux area. Forrest Moore lives across from the landfill and said the smell and noise from the trucks were an issue.

"Every bit of that wind coming off that dump comes right over here and blows it everywhere," Moore told NewsChannel 5.

Rev. Judy Cummings of New Covenant Christian Church said the area has gone through environmental injustice due to misguided regulatory policy, unequal regulation of enforcement and unequal political power. She said since African American communities lack resources and capital to resist environmental hazards, their neighborhoods have become a dumping ground for waste facilities.

"Most of these have been built in or near African American communities and the same holds true for Nashville," she said.

The Mayor’s office said it has been in contact with Councilman Hall and heard from environmental advocates and legal experts within the community who both oppose and support the expansion over several months.

A spokesperson added that the expansion of solid waste facilities is heavily regulated under state law, and those state regulations will dictate what options the Mayor has open to him, including the application of the Jackson Law.

Waste Management Government and Community Affairs Manager Andy Reynolds responded with the following statement:

The Southern Services facility has been providing critical disposal and recovery services for Construction and Demolition Debris generated by businesses, industries and homeowners in Metro Davidson County and surrounding areas for over 30 years. The 183-acre property includes a 77-acre Construction, Demolition and Debris (C&D) Landfill, an Award-Winning Certified Wildlife Habitat area and a Construction and Demolition Material Recovery Operation that participates with LEED Program Contractors to recover and recycle C&D materials.

Southern Services is a Construction & Demolition Debris Landfill, which is an inert material - the site does not accept municipal solid waste.

The expansion process will likely take several years and will include comprehensive engineering and environmental studies and public engagement with surrounding neighborhoods. We have participated in community zoom meetings to discuss the operations at the site and are committed to operating in a manner protective of human health and the environment.

The Metro Legal Department is conducting a thorough analysis to determine the legal course available to the mayor and council members. The department should have an analysis concluded soon.