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Company eyes Duck River for landfill, Tennessee moves forward with bill to protect it

Duck River in Maury County (FOX 17 News)
Duck River in Maury County (FOX 17 News)
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A Louisiana-based company is proposing to put two landfills on Maury County's Duck River, one of the state’s most biologically diverse waterways.

Residents, however, are fighting to keep the river clean. It provides drinking water to 250,000 people.

Trinity Corp submitted an application earlier this year to put two landfill sites—one for residential waste, one for construction debris—on 1,300 acres of property on Monsanto Road along the Duck River. The landfills would be located on the old Monsanto Chemical Corporation property: a superfund site.

Sen. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) and Rep. Scott Cepicky (R-Culleoka) introduced legislation in January that would designate a portion of the Duck River as a Class II scenic river to ultimately enforce environmental and conservational rules.

ALSO SEE: Nashville city leader sounds alarm on Tennessee's landfill capacity

Dozens of Columbia residents drove to Nashville Wednesday morning for an emotional Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the bill.

Rep. Pat Marsh (R-Shelbyville) said he sees both sides.

“It’s conflicted,” Rep. Marsh said. “It’s a tough decision, we’re all trying to figure out what’s right.”

Under the law, the construction and operation of sewer treatment facilities, water treatment facilities, and water harvesting projects by municipalities and public utilities within the watershed, and regional water resource projects identified by the Tennessee Duck River development agency and the TVA in their regional water supply plans and studies, are permitted. However, such use must be consistent with rules implemented by the commissioner of environment and conservation.

RELATED: Tennessee bill would put state protections on part of Maury County's Duck River

“I want to keep the Duck River clean just like everyone else,” Rep. Marsh said. “But why get the state involved? It seems like there are enough stops and guards to do it in Columbia.”

A regional solid waste board would first have to vote on approving the proposal before Trinity Corp could even move forward with their plans.

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“We have made the legislature a courtroom now,” said Committee chairman Rep. Rusty Grills. “I feel like we’re at a sentencing trial when we haven’t even got the verdict yet.”

The bill passed the committee Wednesday. It now moves on to a Government Operations Committee.

For context, here is a brief history of landfills in Middle Tennessee:

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