The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has issued a permit for a new landfill in Mt. Pleasant. The landfill will accept aluminum dross waste from two Mt. Pleasant plants, Tennessee Aluminum Processors and Smelter Service Corporation. Both companies recycle aluminum.
The landfill has been a contentious issue for years. The recycling plants's 225 jobs are welcome, but some worry that the aluminum dross will leach into their water or that the ammonia fumes will make them sick.
TDEC said it decided to permit the landfill because its design meets or exceeds all state requirements.
Alan Graf, the attorney representing citizens fighting the landfill, said he's disappointed with the ruling and expects the community to continue to fight to block the landfill.
"I don't see the people of Mt. Pleasant backing down," Graf said.
"Hazardous waste should not be deposited one mile from downtown. We're already seeing the effects of it in Camden," he said.
The Mt. Pleasant companies now truck their waste to a landfill in Benton County. Residents there have been packing public meetings, complaining that the ammonia fumes burn their eyes and drive them indoors.
Now that waste is coming to Mt. Pleasant. The smelter companies declined to comment, but sent a statement by their attorney saying they're pleased with the decision and promise to operate the landfill to the highest possible standards.
The company's attorney Clark Spoden said that after the planning commission gives its final approval, construction will start. That process, he said, that will take several months.