Middle Point Landfill files motion saying contamination isn’t their fault

Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 6:37 PM CDT
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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WSMV) - The battle between the city of Murfreesboro and the Middle Point Landfill continues after the landfill responded to the lawsuit after the city gave them 60 days to respond.

One of the biggest concerns is that the city said PFAS (a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water) was found in the East Fork Stones River.

PFAS are long-lasting chemicals used in a variety of consumer products and there’s growing concern over how those chemicals impact people.

“We’re absolutely saying the source of PFAS if there is PFAS that’s actually out in the environment, that source is not middle point landfill,” said Mike Classen, General Manager of Middle Point Landfill in Murfreesboro.

The city of Murfreesboro claims those chemicals are coming from Middle Point Landfill but Middle Point points the finger elsewhere.

New Court filings add another layer to the controversy between the city of Murfreesboro and Middle Point Landfill

“In our motion we are absolutely confident the landfill is not the source if contamination does exist,” Classen said.

The Landfill filed the motion after the city of Murfreesboro filed a lawsuit in August of this year.

“We currently comply with all federal state and local regulations. And are regularly inspected by surprise by both the EPA and the Tennessee Department Of Environment And Conservation,” said Classen.

The issue is two main parts.

The first is the contamination of the water at East Fork Stones River and middle point says their landfill isn’t the cause. Classen said their landfill is modern and highly engineered containment facility which meets regulatory requirements.

“It actually has a synthetic bottom liner system designed specifically to prevent contamination of ground water. Conversely the Rutherford County Landfill is an old facility designed and operated before those regulations were in place what that means is there is no liner system to prevent contamination of ground water,” said Classen. “In fact the Rutherford County landfill has a history of groundwater contamination which is documented through normal monitoring.”

The second major concern, foul smelling gas in the air. WSMV’s Tosin Fakile asked Middle Point Landfill what it’s doing to keep the odor at bay.

“Over the past two years, here in Rutherford county we’ve invested 7 and a half million dollars to enhance our ability to collect landfill gas and prevent it from moving offsite and creating those odors and that’s been successful,” said Classen. “In the last 4 months we’ve increased collection of landfill gas by 52%.”

WSMV’s Tosin Fakile also asked the landfill about the claim from the city about toxic gas coming from broken gas flare.

“What the city of Murfreesboro observed was actually our landfill gas flares. And what those are is we collect landfill gas which is generated as waste decomposes naturally and to prevent it from being emitted into the atmosphere, we actually collect it and route it to onsite destruction devices which are operating exactly how they’re supposed to and in exactly in accordance with all regulations to destroy that landfill gas and then emit it into the atmosphere,” Classen said.

WSMV reached out to the city of Murfreesboro for its response but the city said it’s legal counsel isn’t making public statements at this time.

Middle Point said since they named Rutherford County in their response to the lawsuit, the county has to be included moving forward.

“At the same time we notified the court and the city if this is to proceed, Rutherford county is an indispensable party to be part of this proceedings based on all those facts surrounding their old landfill,” Classen said.

No hearing date has been set on the motion filed by Middle Point Landfill.