Where does the waste originate?
The waste disposed at Middle Point is generated at homes, businesses, and industry primarily originating from Rutherford and Davidson counties. Waste originating from other counties throughout Middle Tennessee is also disposed at Middle Point, although in significantly smaller quantities.
What types of wastes are accepted at the landfill?
Nonhazardous solid waste from residential and commercial establishments (municipal solid waste) is accepted, as are approved wastes generated by municipalities and local businesses, and construction and demolition materials from building projects. All hazardous and liquid wastes are prohibited from disposal at Middle Point, as are many other waste types, including untreated medical waste, car batteries and whole tires. Middle Point has developed an extensive waste plan that outlines procedures to ensure prohibited waste is not brought into the landfill, and this plan is approved and monitored by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).
What environmental protection systems are in place?
Middle Point is a highly regulated facility and continuously operates in a manner that protects public health and the environment. We work closely with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and strive to meet or exceed all state and federal regulations. All waste is disposed within the boundary of a constructed landfill area that has been engineered to protect the environment with state-of-the-art monitoring, containment, and control technologies. There are many environmental protection systems at Middle Point, including but not limited to the following:
Landfill liner: Nearly the entire liner at the base of the landfill consists of five feet of compacted clay geologic buffer, two feet of compacted clay, a high-density polyethylene liner, a geocomposite drainage layer, gravel drainage corridors and one foot of protective cover. In total, there are seven feet of compacted clay and a plastic liner between the waste and the natural environment. All liners are thoroughly tested to meet regulations and ensure proper engineering construction standards.
Leachate collection: As with any landfill, when precipitation falls, some filters through the ground surface into the landfill. Any liquid that touches waste is known as “leachate” and is carefully managed. Middle Point’s leachate collection system includes perforated pipes placed above the liner system to collect any liquid that filters through the landfill. Leachate is then processed through a state-of-the-art Membrane Biological Reactor onsite pretreatment plant and discharged to another wastewater treatment plant for final processing. We recently invested $2.5M into the onsite pre-treatment plant to increase reduction of high-strength liquids from the Middle Point and the adjacent Rutherford County landfills.
Rainwater collection: Rainwater that does not touch any waste must also be managed appropriately. Stormwater runoff is collected and contained in retention ponds, allowing soil particles to settle before the water is discharged to a nearby waterway. Visual inspections are conducted regularly, and analysis of samples is done annually by a third party professional engineering company and nationally accredited analytical laboratory.
Groundwater monitoring: Wells have been placed around the site perimeter to ensure that landfill operations are not adversely impacting groundwater. Five wells and two springs are sampled semi-annually by a licensed groundwater professional following rigorous quality control standards, analyzed by a nationally accredited analytical laboratory, evaluated using advanced statistical methods to determine if any impacts to groundwater from landfill leachate are observable, and results are submitted to the state.
Gas collection: Once trash is disposed of, it naturally decomposes and produces gas. A landfill gas management system collects gas through a series of pipes and more than 250 gas wells. The system is regularly monitored to minimize the potential for odors and prevent gas migration. The system is operated within a stringent set of parameters established and enforced by USEPA and TDEC by a 15-person team of full-time technicians, and reports of system compliance are submitted to both regulatory agencies on a semiannual basis.
Final capping: Once we bring the waste to permitted final elevation, we place a final cover over the top to entomb the waste. This cover keeps liquids out and gases in and ensures protection of the environment. The cap includes 18 inches of clay soil, a polyethylene liner, a geocomposite drainage layer, and 18 inches of topsoil and vegetation.
Who permits and inspects the facility?
Middle Point is a heavily regulated facility subject to numerous stringent local, state, and federal regulatory requirements and permits. In addition to maintaining an extensive network of groundwater and air quality monitors, it is regularly inspected at random (minimum monthly) for compliance by federal and state regulatory authorities with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).
What other environmental protection steps are being taken at Middle Point?
In October 2022, Middle Point announced the development of a renewable natural gas (RNG) facility at the Landfill with Archaea Energy, an industry leader in renewable natural gas. The project will convert landfill gas that naturally occurs as waste decomposes into pipeline-quality RNG that can be used as a low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels. This project is in response to county and community interest and will break ground in early 2023. The new Middle Point Landfill gas-to-energy project will create clean energy resources that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide meaningful environmental benefits.
How much waste is accepted daily?
The facility accepts approximately 3,700 tons of waste daily.
What does Middle Point Landfill mean to the community?
Middle Point is committed to a long-term, environmentally safe, and economical operation. Rutherford County has a population of approximately 350,000 who generate household waste daily. The waste needs an outlet, and a landfill in Rutherford County ensures there is sufficient capacity for waste disposal. For the residents of Rutherford County, this translates to no-cost disposal services. Counties that do not have landfills pay higher rates for waste services and have no control over their own destiny when it comes to managing their waste.
Middle Point Landfill is an integral part of the local economy. It provides jobs for residents and affordable waste disposal options for residents and businesses. We also support the local economy with the purchase of goods and services. Over the past two years alone, we’ve donated more than $250,000 to local schools, municipalities, Rutherford County projects and foundations, including the Murfreesboro Knights Youth Sports program and programs at Walter Hill Elementary.
In addition, Murfreesboro and Rutherford County receive host community benefits and fees. In 1995, Rutherford County and BFI entered into an agreement for Middle Point that allowed all residents within the county to send household waste to the landfill free of charge. Later that year, the City of Murfreesboro entered into an agreement with BFI for its residents to benefit from no-cost trash disposal. This all equates to jobs and much-needed revenue for local and state economies.
What additional steps are taken to ensure that the landfill is a good neighbor?
Proper daily operations are critical to environmentally sound waste disposal. Therefore, all employees at Middle Point are trained to handle incoming waste in the most environmentally responsible manner. Access to the site is limited to one entrance/exit. The facility records and tracks all waste shipments with gate receipts and a network of video cameras. Each load of incoming waste is visually inspected to ensure that only permitted materials are accepted for disposal. Once unloaded, the waste is visually inspected again. At the end of each working day, daily cover is placed over the waste. Steps are also taken to control dust, litter and odor. Periodic watering of access roads prevents dust from rising when trucks travel in and out of the landfill. A sweeper is used to keep nearby roadways clean. Litter is minimized by limiting the size of the active disposal area, applying daily cover, and using fencing on windy days to catch blowing materials. Litter that blows off-site is collected by landfill personnel.
How do you control potential odors?
Landfill gas and the potential for off-site odors are controlled with good operational programs such as waste compaction, applying daily cover per our permit, and the use of an effective landfill gas collection and control system. Landfill personnel conduct routine odor inspections to minimize and address any potential for odor as quickly as possible if detected. Middle Point has made significant investments in its on-site gas collection and control system over the last 18 months, including the installation of 84 new gas wells and nearly 4,000 linear feet of horizontal collectors with five new extraction points. We install gas collection infrastructure much earlier than required by federal and state regulations. Additionally, we use a misting/odor-neutralization system to assist with odor control. Any odor reports can be made directly to the landfill by visiting our online odor reporting portal at http://middlepointlandfill.com/contact-us/odor-report/.
What is the life expectancy of the landfill?
The life expectancy varies depending on the volume of waste received for disposal. There is capacity for approximately 5 years of disposal at current disposal volumes. We plan to continue operations long term and look forward to continued partnership with city and county officials.
It appears that there is construction going on at the landfill. What’s happening?
It is common to see construction activities at the landfill that may include the use of heavy equipment. This construction is part of the ongoing operation and maintenance of our environmental protection systems.
When is the landfill open for business?
Middle Point is open Monday through Friday from 4:00am to 4:00pm and Saturday from 7:00am to 11:00am. Middle Point is closed on Sundays and major holidays.
How can I find out more about the Landfill?
We offer presentations about landfill operations and can be available for questions and answers for community groups. If you would like a speaker to come to speak to your group about Middle Point, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.