Birds flying over landfill
Photo courtesy of Petro Perytskyi

Waste Management sues Nashville county over landfill issues

The lawsuit follows a recent rejection of plans to expand the landfill’s operations.

Waste Management, the owner of the Southern Services Construction & Demolition landfill in Nashville, Tennessee, filed a lawsuit against Davidson County after plans to expand a 77-acre landfill by an additional 17 acres were rejected, the Tennessee Lookout reports.

That rejection came from Nashville's Solid Waste Region Board. The board deemed the expansion plans to be inconsistent with the city's Solid Waste Master Plan, which aims to send near zero waste to landfills by 2050. Health concerns, livability, home resale values as well as environmental impacts were also factors in the board's decision.

Waste Management filed its lawsuit on April 22. The suit asks the court to overturn the board's decision. It also asks the court to invalidate the city's Solid Waste Master Plan entirely, calling it "unenforceable, unlawful and based on the unlawful procedure." Waste Management is asking the court to order a newly amended master plan to be developed.

The lawsuit underscores growing tensions between the landfill operators and the city since the board rejected the expansion request. A week after the board's rejection, Waste Management officials told the city it could not accept debris cleared by metro crews after floods swept through portions of Nashville, reports the Tennessee Lookout.

The landfill operators have also recently clashed with the site’s neighboring communities, which widely consist of African-American residents. Residents have complained of odors, declining property values and health problems associated with the nearby dump.