Tennessee landfill tests positive for cadmium

Owners abandoned site and filed for bankruptcy after investigation.

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September 11, 2017
Waste Today Staff
Landfills Special and Hazardous Waste

A landfill in Camden, Tennessee is testing positive for unsafe levels of the cancer-causing metal, cadmium, according to a Tennessean.com article.

Groundwater tests at the landfill in June reportedly measured more than five times the acceptable limit for cadmium. State regulators are awaiting new test results to determine whether the readings could be a result of lab error.

One well testing positive for cadmium is between the landfill and a creek that flows into the source of the city's drinking water. Experts noted the well lies in the path of groundwater flow from the landfill. A second nearby well tested positive for the first time in June for cadmium.

The 42-acre landfill opened in 2010 next with a permit to accept shredded tires. Environmental Waste Solutions, Nashville developer Scott Sohr soon after received permission from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) to accept special wastes at the site.

The landfill began accepting aluminum, coal and railroad industries and diesel fuel from a Superfund site. Reportedly by 2017, the landfill was found to be a large quantity generator of hazardous waste and city officials petitioned for an investigation. The site was later padlocked and abandoned with two tanker trucks of potentially explosive ammonia and dozens of 250-pound plastic containers containing cadmium sludge left on the site, according to the report. Then, Environmental Waste Solutions filed for bankruptcy. Criminal charges may follow.

The state has since taken over management of the site and the decades-long process of closing the landfill. The wastewater report commissioned by state regulators noted there was an "upward trend" since 2014 in levels of cadmium at the site.